Jacksonville media (including Florida Politics) received word from a Jacksonville City Councilman that he wants the Mayor’s Chief Administrative Officer to resign.
The email came through just after midnight Thursday.
Councilman Matt Carlucci said it was “time for … Brian Hughes, who has become a troublesome liability to the Mayor’s Office, to resign.”
“His presence in City Hall, in my opinion, based on my experience, has been an impediment to our city moving forward and this has lead to the worst governmental environment and chemistry that I have ever witnessed or experienced in my public service career,” the three-term At-Large Group 4 Councilman said.
“Our city cannot move forward because so many of our community leaders and citizens have become distrustful and tiresome of our City Government. A Mayor cannot be an effective leader with a Chief of Staff who is not collaborative and cannot be relied upon to build honest and forthright relationships,” Carlucci continued.
Carlucci most recently led the charge against the sale of JEA in the Jacksonville City Council, calling for a grand jury investigation and the termination of now-former CEO Aaron Zahn.
Hughes, who had been instrumental in Curry’s external political operation since the 2015 mayoral campaign, moved into City Hall two years ago. He initially served as Curry’s trusted political consultant, helping him win in 2015, and was a key figure in passing a referendum that approved a half-cent sales tax to begin after 2030 for paying down the city’s massive pension debt.
At the time, Hughes noted that some people found him “aggressive,” a “motorcycle guy who gets angry.”
The current City Hall controversy, however, has as much to do with the constant drumbeat of revelations about the concerted effort to market and sell JEA, one that many blame on Curry and his political operation.
Carlucci and Hughes (and the Curry administration, by extension) have a history of battling each other. For example, in May 2019, the two disagreed over the timing of the demolition of The Jacksonville Landing.
Carlucci had called for another public meeting to discuss the matter, while Hughes and the administration insisted on staying the course on plans that he said were thoroughly examined by the John Peyton administration and finalized during Alvin Brown‘s time in office.