Jacksonville City Council fissures exposed before pay raise vote

jacksonville city happ
Pay raise changes were preceded by pitched debate.

A bill that makes changes to the process of automatic pay raises for members of the Jacksonville City Council passed unanimously at Tuesday’s meeting, but only after a cacophony of slanders and emotional speeches.

The discussion of the legislation from Republican Rory Diamond indicates a strained and striated Duval County political landscape headed into 2022 and 2023 cycles, when a number of members of the Council will look for higher office.

The Council first moved an unfriendly amendment softening the bill, one that stripped the requirement for a standalone vote for pay raises and replaced it with requirement of written statement of election of the pay raise for a given year.

“It guts the bill,” protested Diamond of the amendment from Democrat Garrett Dennis. But once the amendment passed, the bill moved without incident.

The drama preceded the votes, however.

Before the amendment could move, Randy DeFoor, a Republican not aligned with the bill sponsor or the Mayor’s Office, objected to Diamond calling opponents of the bill “swamp creatures,” then saying that Diamond was trying to work a deal with a Democrat to draw her out of her district. Diamond said there was no such deal, though others disagree.

“Even if this was the right thing to do, it seems like it was done in the wrong way,” DeFoor said, decrying “DC grandstanding” from Diamond.

“This is Jacksonville, not Washington,” DeFoor added.

The hits kept coming. Dennis, advocating for his amendment, suggested it was Diamond who was the “swamp creature.” Democrat Brenda Priestly Jackson noted that Diamond left the JEA Investigative Committee before the issuance of a report with final conclusions. Republican Matt Carlucci, a mayoral candidate in 2023, noted that his friends, family, and network did not appreciate the language Diamond used either.

Other objections manifested also.

“I’m worth whatever I get paid,” asserted Democrat Reggie Gaffney, a likely 2022 state Senate candidate.

With the amendment adopted, Diamond urged the bill be passed, despite being gutted. And it passed unanimously from there.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski

One comment

  • Concerned Observer

    March 24, 2021 at 2:49 pm

    Councilman Rory Diamond is very shady. It’s quite ironic that Rory, a homosexual in his early 40s who was recently “dating” a 20-year-old kid, is claiming that other Republicans are RINOS. Rory is the epitome of a RINO – he’s a pro-LGBT fanatic and vehemently pro-abortion. This charade about opposing pay increases for councilmembers is just a distraction. Jacksonville needs to vote this loser out!

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