Just days after Gov. Rick Scott suspended two Jacksonville City Council members who face 38 federal counts in a scheme to defraud local and federal taxpayers, Mayor Lenny Curry said Tuesday his office had no active role or insight into the selection process for their replacements.
The replacements for suspended Democrats Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown will be picked by Scott. They would serve until/unless the individual Council members are exonerated, or the installation of 2019 electeds on July 1 — whichever comes first.
Speaking after a City Hall ceremony commemorating U.S./French cooperation in World War II, Curry said “it’s the Governor’s choice.”
“The process that he put into place,” Curry said, “is an application process” similar to that for gubernatorial boards.
“We’ve had people reach out to us and we have directed them to the link [to apply via the Governor’s Office], told them to follow the process,” Curry said.
When asked if current 2019 candidates for the impacted seats have been in contact with the Mayor’s Office, Curry confirmed people have reached out, but “it’s the Governor’s decision.”
“When they get to the selection process, if the governor or his team solicit advice, we will certainly provide it at that time. But I’ve known Gov. Scott for many years, and he makes his own decisions,” Curry said.
Curry noted that Council President-elect Aaron Bowman, who takes over the gavel in July, is “anxious to see those seats filled so they can get on with their business.”
Bowman is in the process of filling Council committees for the post July 1 period.
In terms of Northwest Jacksonville, the region from which both indicted Council members hail, Curry vowed to make “continued commitments in the years ahead” despite the lapse in representation in those areas.
“We’ve got a lot to do in terms of the promises that were made long before we got here,” Curry said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Curry noted that when he got in office three years ago, he vowed to “invest” in those neglected neighborhoods, and he will continue to do just that.