Stakes were high in the Jacksonville City Council Leadership Elections, and no one besides the candidates bet as big as Bill Gulliford.
When pledging support for the runner-up in Tuesday’s vote for Council President months back, Gulliford said that he wouldn’t accept a standing committee assignment in an Anna Brosche administration.
Gulliford walked that back Wednesday in an email to councilors.
“I have come to realize I live in a different world than the one that formed me,” Gulliford said, before retracting his previous position as “selfish” and imposing a “greater burden” on the other councilors.
With an eye toward alleviating the burden, Gulliford said he would request placement on two “lesser committees” during his “year’s exile.”
In a sense, there is a real irony to this — and an illustration of the very real change in the intra-Council dynamic.
Council members assigned to those “lesser committees” have complained, for years, about being frozen out of Finance and Rules in favor of less prestigious postings.
Meanwhile, those who were well-positioned never really acknowledged that there was a hierarchy of committee placement.
Gulliford will be termed out in 2019, and his email suggests that he is already downshifting, cognizant of the reality of a council dynamic that is seeing those elected in 2011 moving toward the exit ramp.
Meanwhile, it will be up to President-designate Brosche — who described her fellow Republican as a “grenade thrower” — to determine from which foxhole the Atlantic Beach councilman will be best positioned to throw some ordnance.
Meanwhile, that wasn’t the only bit of Council Leadership election news from Wednesday.
We spoke on Wednesday to Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry about how Brosche can best utilize Gulliford and others who were adamant in their opposition to Brosche.
Curry, who is “really looking forward to working with” new council leadership, lauded defeated Presidential candidate John Crescimbeni for being an “important member of council” and a “good ally on some big issues.”
“We’re going to get everybody back together and work on things that are big for Jacksonville,” Curry said.
When asked if Crescimbeni, Gulliford, and others should be given the kinds of committee assignments they had been given under more favorable leadership, however, Curry noted that he wasn’t willing to “get into [Council] business.”
“Whatever the committees look like,” Curry said, “we will work together and continue to do bold things for our city and do our jobs.”