New Council Leaders Ask City to Share in Sacrifices; Joost: Priorities Should Be Business Development, to Protect Children

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Patterson

Facing a budget hole and lingering unemployment, Jacksonville's new City Council leaders were sworn into office Thursday asking for shared sacrifices and hope to see the city through hard times.

"We have some serious issues. ... We're going to get through it with flying colors," Stephen Joost said minutes after he was sworn in as council president inside the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.

Seven first-time members and a crowd of returning officeholders were charged to uphold the city's charter, ethics code, laws, rules and regulations in a simple dignified installation that highlighted family ties among community leaders.

After County Judge Tyrie W. Boyer administered one in a series of oath ceremonies, he left the front of the stage and kissed his wife, new member Lori Boyer.

New Mandarin council member Matt Schellenberg sat on the stage with his father, former Councilman Bob Schellenberg. And re-elected member Johnny Gaffney came to the ceremony with his brother, Reggie.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan swore in his cousin, Michael Corrigan, as county tax collector.

The roughly 80 minutes of speeches and ceremonies that preceded a lobby meet-and-greet included a first rough sketch of Joost's priorities for managing a projected multimillion budget shortfall.

In a nutshell, his answer was that amenities that make today more comfortable should be deferred to protect services for children and business development that could benefit the city long-term. …

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