The changing of the guard becomes official Thursday for the Jacksonville City Council when Aaron Bowman, a VP of the Jacksonville Chamber’s JAXUSA business recruitment wing, assumes the presidency.
The event at the Times-Union Center kicks off at 6 p.m.
Bowman moves from the vice-presidency to the presidency, after an uncontested candidacy that was supported by Mayor Lenny Curry, a close ally to the Chamber.
As opposed to the last year, which saw Curry jousting with President Anna Brosche on a variety of issues, expect Bowman and Curry to present a united front in public.
“The Chamber, the mayor and I all have many similar interests: downtown development, job creation, making Jacksonville a safer city, supporting and inviting business growth and good policy, etc. The mayor and I are committed to working together so it should be an active and exciting year for our residents,” Bowman asserted earlier this week.
Bowman’s VP, Scott Wilson, likewise is a pragmatic Republican trusted and liked throughout City Hall, including the mayor’s office.
The Bowman/Wilson slate is interesting, given that Bowman defeated Wilson for VP in 2017. Expect there to be little daylight between the two on significant issues.
Bowman has stated he wants the ceremony to be relatively brief, an interest that will be shared by attendees.
As well, there is a sense of what priorities will be for Bowman’s year with the gavel.
Per the Florida Times-Union, “the top priorities are to inventory all the city’s crime-fighting programs and set benchmarks for success, increase park maintenance, devise a comprehensive litter-control plan, develop downtown and enhance its public spaces, update the zoning code and bring redevelopment to Mayport.”
For some councilors, including heavy hitters like Bill Gulliford, Greg Anderson, Lori Boyer, and John Crescimbeni, this is their last year on the body.
Three will take a prominent role on the powerful Finance Committee, which shapes the city’s budget, a document that topped out at $1.27B in 2018.
Bowman’s Finance Committee will contrast to that of Brosche, who rewarded Democrats who backed her by giving them four of the seven slots on the committee.
Two of those members, Reggie Brown and Katrina Brown, were indicted and their seats are vacant.