Donna Deegan’s Neighborhoods chief faces tough path in Jax City Council
Al Ferraro wants action against people asking for money.

Republican Al Ferraro looks poised to win re-election.
'I don't think he has the votes.'

Democratic Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan picked a former Republican City Council member to run her Neighborhoods Department. Yet there are stirrings that the same Council won’t support Al Ferraro’s nomination.

“I don’t think he has the votes,” said one highly placed Republican source.

That member, who worked with Ferraro for years, noted that in eight years on the Council, Ferraro only chaired one minor committee (Transportation, Energy, and Utilities). Ferraro also was never backed for Council leadership, another sign that he wasn’t respected even on the supermajority GOP legislative branch.

That long-term record, we are told, won’t help Ferraro, especially given other concerns Council members have.

One of those concerns is that Ferraro, a landscaper by trade, lacks the credentials that the city’s municipal code requires to run the department; “a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university and at least five years of experience in an administrative or executive position.”

While waivers have been used before in certain situations, they usually facilitate the ascension of someone from the ranks with significant practical experience. Ferraro, who has run a landscaping company for decades, is not seen by some members as having the necessary experience to take over Neighborhoods.

Another concern expressed is that Ferraro recently was embroiled in a conflict with the very department he seeks to lead over campaign signs. Ferraro disputed fines he incurred for signs wrongly placed, blaming the Lenny Curry “machine” for his problem and saying it was political payback for running against preferred candidate Daniel Davis.

“That’s not the way that politics and elections are supposed to be working in our country. We’re not a banana republic,” said Ferraro to Action News Jax.

The “banana republic” line particularly roils sources on Council.

“He didn’t really make friends when he was on Council,” said another source who described Ferraro as “always crying and throwing the other Council members under the bus.”

Ferraro’s intelligence was also derided, with it being noted that he would call the Office of General Counsel “OCG” instead of “OGC.”

The Deegan administration says it stands behind Ferraro’s nomination.

“Mr. Ferraro was appointed because of his passion for neighborhoods and his vast experience bringing them to the table for critical policy decisions as a City Council member, small business owner and community leader. He has just started meeting with City Council members. We look forward to productive conversations and a positive process that leads to his confirmation,” said spokesperson Phil Perry.

Some members won’t meet with Ferraro, which could be seen as a potential warning sign in this context. Many Republicans on Council backed Davis for Mayor and there are those in the GOP base who have qualms over Ferraro crossing party lines to work for a Democratic Mayor.

Ferraro would not offer comment for this story, but Rules Chair Terrance Freeman did. However, they didn’t seem helpful to the nominee when his committee considers the nomination Aug. 14.

“I have many thoughts on this but remain consistent in how I’ve led on the Council and refrain from publicly commenting until the process is before the committee or the body as a whole.”

The Deegan administration could ultimately give Ferraro a lesser role and choose a nominee who meets the qualifications and who doesn’t have such a checkered history with Council, or they could push through despite what we are hearing are qualms even inside the administration. But it seems Ferraro will be a fight for the new Mayor if they stay the course as they say they intend to do.

A.G. Gancarski

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


  • Earl Pitts American

    August 4, 2023 at 9:43 am

    Good mornting America,
    Below is some knowledge for Duvall.
    My, Earl Pitts American’s Fan Club’s Resident Theological Reaserchers advise Duvall citizens to avert their eyes and not look directly into Deegan’s Hood Chief’s eyes. There is Demonic voodoo in his eyes which will make citizens think homeless folk camping on their lawns, pooping in the streets, drug abuse outside your doors is OK.
    At this time we also advise not to stare directly into the photo included with this article.
    Control your eyes, my Duvall Patriots, Avert so you wont be a Convert to the “Los Angleization” of your neighborhoods.
    Thank you beloved Patriots of Duvall.
    And my appoligies to any of you that may have already looked,
    Earl Pitts American

    • Just Tommy

      August 4, 2023 at 10:03 am

      Good looking out Earl,
      I’m asking our HOA President out here in Waterleaf Homeowner’s Association to hold an emergency meeting so we can band together and nip this in the bud.
      I never understood how we lost to the Democrats in the first place.

  • Vote fo Al

    August 4, 2023 at 4:34 pm

    Do you need a college degree to be Mayor, who is in charge of everything, NO.. Al was not part of the establishment, the RINOS, that is why some Republican Rinos, do not like him, shame on them. If they vote NO, Karma will get them, in this life or in afterlife. Even some of the Democrats are DINOS

  • Bake the Pancake

    August 4, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    Here is Republicans who won’t vote for Al. All the Baker candidates: Nick Howland (liar who steals from Veterans), kevin carrico, Ken Amaro, Randy White, Will Lahnen, Raul Arias, Sellout Freeman.

    Democrat Gaffney Jr will vote against Al. They picked him over Charles Barr

    Team Baker is mad because they lost Daniel. Pancake Pantinakis and Tim Baker will continue to hemorrhage support all over the city. We democrats are running the fat pantinakis back to the buffet line. Tim should fly back to California where is blue.

    • Paul

      August 5, 2023 at 10:31 am

      Oh this one is going to be fun! And I really do not believe Ferrero was nor is the best choice for any administration position so he must be getting some special consolation prize for splitting the party.

    • Brett Burton

      August 7, 2023 at 12:54 pm

      Commenter “Bake the Pancake” is disgraced RPOF staffer Brett Burton

  • Dr. Juan P. Gray

    August 4, 2023 at 8:06 pm

    This is simply a ” Poor Management Decision” by the Deegan Administration. Political favors are one thing, this is over the hill of logic. How can this guy lead a staff of 300 employees with BS and higher degrees ? Why is the Mayor trying to ” Dumb Down” City Govt with inept leaders? How Can Ferraro manage a budget of $22 mil of our “Tax Dollars” after running 3 “grass cutters”? I am sincerely hoping the CIty Council will renew my faith in “Sound Decision Making” by voting NO on waving the education requirement for this nominee . There is a female with vast experience in the Neighborhoods Department with a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) , who applied for this position , but for some strange reasons she did not get considered for the Director of Neighborhoods Department. Madame Mayor please stop playing “Political Games” and hire competent people to run our City.

    • Simon

      August 5, 2023 at 10:19 am

      I agree completely.

  • Rumor Joe

    August 5, 2023 at 5:20 am

    Here goes: I heard a rumor, that some republican and democrat city council members were so mad that Mr. Ferraro hire da certain female a couple of weeks ago to be his assistant, that they went to the Mayor’s office and demanded that she fire this female, or they were not going to approve the budget in October (the woman quit). So, in theory a deal was made, if this woman was fired, that Mr. Ferraro would get his city council votes for his job and the budget would be approved. If this turns out to be true and not a rumor, then the Mayor and Mr. Ferraro should go public with this, you think?

  • Simon

    August 5, 2023 at 10:24 am

    “Mr. Ferraro was appointed because of his passion for neighborhoods and his vast experience bringing them to the table for critical policy decisions as a City Council member, small business owner and community leader…” I have never seen Mr. Ferrero as a community leader. I live in District 2 and to my knowledge he has never held a public community meeting in his whole 2 terms and I know for a fact he will never show up for a public debate. Please hire a Neighborhoods Director that is qualified and not as political payback.

  • Michelle Busby

    August 6, 2023 at 8:39 am

    In regard to the Ferraro nomination, “The Deegan administration could ultimately … choose a nominee who meets the qualifications”. Yes, let’s go that route. Every time.

  • Deany Weenie

    August 6, 2023 at 9:11 am

    Al’s problem is that he is not considered to terribly bright. Couple that with his rather condescending attitude towards others and you have the perfect target for Republicans to take their first shot at the new mayor.

    She could have done better with this choice and given Al something less important just like the previous administration did with the Democrat former council members that they hired.

    • say it aint so

      August 6, 2023 at 6:30 pm

      but, members, both democrat and republican, made a deal, if Al’s assistant was fired, they would go along with the budget and his appointment, now, it seems they are backtracking, if that is the case, then the Mayor and Al, should go public with the information, to show who these people are and about

Comments are closed.


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