Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

2 at Center of Special Events Policy Debate; Questions Had Been Raised about Events Organized by Council Members

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

2 at Center of Special Events Policy Debate; Questions Had Been Raised about Events Organized by Council Members

Article excerpt

Byline: Tiffanie Reynolds

A review of Jacksonville Beach's special events policy will soon be completed after weeks of waiting to interview two members of the Jacksonville Beach City Council.

City Council members Phil Vogelsang and Keith Doughtery organize two annual public festivals on city property and staff and City Council members have raised concerns over their dual roles of council members and event organizers.

Vogelsang and Doughtery hired attorneys to represent them in the review process early this month. Both agreed to interviews under certain conditions: Vogelsang wanted the questions sent to him in writing and Doughtery wanted the interview recorded.

John Dickinson of Constangy, Brooks, Smith and Prophete is conducting the review and refused to do interviews under those conditions.

After weeks of negotiating with their lawyers, Dickinson will continue to write his first draft of the review. Vogelsang and Doughtery are the only two out of council and city staff who haven't been interviewed.

Dickinson said that he wanted to wait to give everyone a chance to give input, but now feels he's waited long enough.

The review of Jacksonville Beach's special events policy began in May after residents and council members raised concerns of the TPC After Party, specifically that nearly the entire event space was closed to the public and that the application for the event allegedly did not follow the right city process for approval.

Jacksonville Beach City Manager George Forbes requested during the May 16 City Council Workshop that City Attorney Susan Erdelyi review the city special events policy and look into his concerns about city council members involved with public festivals. Doughtery organizes Lannadoo, Jacksonville Beach's annual Celtic festival, and the Beaches Oktoberfest with Vogelsang.

During the same meeting Forbes said he and his staff experienced some "dust-offs" over the last several months with the two City Council members relating to their involvement in festivals. …

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