Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Interest Groups React to Mayor's Reorganizing Plan

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Interest Groups React to Mayor's Reorganizing Plan

Article excerpt

Byline: Timothy J. Gibbons

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown is beginning to solidify details of his plans for reorganizing city government as various interest groups weigh in.

Perhaps the biggest area under discussion is what changes will be made to the Jacksonville Children's Commission.

For now, Brown's reorganization plans call for the commission to lose some of the autonomy it enjoys. The commission and the Jacksonville Journey will be combined into one organization, and other responsibilities, such as senior issues, added.

The mayor got some pushback on some of those changes during a meeting last week with several past leaders of the commission.

That conversation was cordial and productive, said former Children's Commission chairman Michael Munz.

"Every time there is a big robust bill like this put forth, there'll be language not everyone will agree with," he said. "They wanted us to provide some ideas and suggestions for making the Children's Commission better and stronger."

The mayor is "happy to look at suggestions," said Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Hyde. "We're going to actively consider them."

The administration is also nailing down the shape that its new downtown development entity will take, in the aftermath of conversations with the Jacksonville Civic Council and other stakeholders.

During the campaign, as well as more recently, Brown has talked about a more independent sort of body than appears to be provided for in the reorganization plan.

Tuesday, Brown said the entity which will be called the Jacksonville Downtown Development Corp. will be more independent than the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission. The president and chief executive officer of the organization will have hiring and firing power and will report to a board.

"It will be run just like an independent agency," he said.

Making changes to the reorganization plan is part of the process, said Chris Hand, Brown's chief of staff. …

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