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Jacksonville City Councilman Terrance Freeman after being sworn in.

Jax

Murkiness still surrounds precise timing of Terrance Freeman appointment to Council

Gov. Rick Scott, who collected an endorsement from the National Federation for Independent Businesses in Jacksonville Monday, addressed the controversial appointment of Terrance Freeman to the Jacksonville City Council.

Days after the appointment, questions about Freeman’s residency and when the appointment took effect continued to resonate.

Freeman was appointed on Tuesday by Gov. Scott, per Communications Director John Tupps.

“The press release announcing the appointment has an effective date of the appointment,” Tupps said.

(We have yet to get clarity, meanwhile, on whether the appointment date would have been effective at 12:00 A.M. July 10, or at 10:18 a.m, when the email was sent out.)

If the appointment is effective when sent out, that arguablycontravenes Jacksonville’s general counsel’s position. General Counsel Jason Gabriel noted last week that the threshold for eligibility to serve, per Gabriel, is when Freeman is sworn in.

The governor’s appointment is not the time marker, per Gabriel’s interpretation.

After this story ran, McKinley Lewis pushed back, saying that “we will make our arguments through the legal proceedings,” reiterating that the “appointment was lawful.”

The clarification is germane, given an active lawsuit questioning Freeman’s residency claim, which lists Scott and Freeman as co-defendants.

The lawsuit contends that when the email was sent, Freeman, who has a homestead exemption in Mandarin, was registered to vote there, and therefore was a resident of Mandarin even after the email officially confirmed leaks that Freeman’s appointment was imminent.

The rush to establish residency would be less material if Thursday were his effective date. With Tuesday as the effective date, lawyers will look for evidence that Freeman did not establish residency until after he had been appointed.

Earlier Monday, we asked Scott about the appointment and — crucially — when he believed the appointment was effective.

“My campaign team — my office will get back to you on that,” Scott said.

Reminded that he sent out the release Tuesday morning, Scott said he’d “get [his] office to get the exact time.”

Scott’s team did provide the exact time. Or at least date. But is it convenient for his political allies in Jacksonville?

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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