Jacksonville City Council President Anna Brosche is settling into the role, having wrapped her first Council meeting as presiding officer last week.
In that role, she is responsible for more than just presiding over Council meetings. Among other duties, she is chair of Jacksonville’s Tourist Development Council — which likewise met last week.
As well, she is the primary liaison from the legislative branch to Mayor Lenny Curry — like her, a first-term fortysomething GOP CPA. For reasons analyzed at considerable length in recent weeks, that has been a relationship to watch.
In all of these developments, and the other myriad components of being Council President, Brosche is embracing the challenges and the responsibilities of the position.
Brosche describes herself as “loving this new role” and “really happy and excited” about serving as Council President … a position that often can be challenging and draining over time.
Brosche discussed the new role with Florida Politics late last week, offering insights on the process. Below, the highlights:
Regarding the first City Council meeting, Brosche believes that it went well.
“I am pleased with the first meeting. I love the conversation and dialogue, and my colleagues hearing each other out,” Brosche said.
There was, of course, one piece of unfinished business in the meeting: a bill to put an August 2018 referendum repealing the current two-term limit for Jacksonville electeds and replacing it with a three-term allowance was iced until the second meeting in August.
When asked if the bill was viable — something very much in doubt after John Crescimbeni led an effort to cast doubt on the political prudence of the measure — Brosche was agnostic.
“I’m not going to predict where term limits goes from here. It seemed some of my colleagues were interested in gathering information,” Brosche said, “and the body supported their desire to do so.”
The next big moment for this maybe-or-maybe-not movement: Aug. 8, when Councilors Bill Gulliford and Lori Boyer host a public notice meeting, one in which the Consolidation Task Force’s arguments for three terms (which boil down to “institutional knowledge” being accrued over time) likely will be rehearsed.
Another key moment for Brosche this week: a marathon meeting of the Tourist Development Council, which she now chairs.
Her thoughts were interesting.
Brosche expressed conditional confidence in the marketing plan put forth by the Dalton Agency in partnership with Visit Jacksonville, saying that she is “pleased that we will have metrics to measure impact and success for marketing,” and “look[s] forward to getting a better sense on ROI.”
One potential shift in strategy: Brosche is less sold on the necessity for a physical “visitors’ center” than her predecessor as TDC Chair and Council President, Lori Boyer, is.
“I’m going to have to defer to my tourism experts on brick and mortar. I’m skeptical, and appreciate the RFP is asking for a conceptual plan that includes creative ways of delivering tourist information that may not be brick and mortar, or at least combine tourist information with engaging exhibits about our history or other attractions.”
While tourism is, has been, and will continue to be a challenge for Jacksonville, one thing that is progressing apace: Brosche’s rapport with Curry, with whom she met last week after Curry’s trip to Baltimore and St. Louis in pursuit of downtown development inspiration.
“The Mayor and I talk and meet regularly to cover a host of issues and topics (including downtown development) in the interest of working together to move the city forward and you’ll see lots more of those meetings on the calendar. We talk by phone very regularly,” Brosche said.