As Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan continues to fill her administration’s staff, her General Counsel candidate, Randy DeFoor, addressed what she’d be giving up if 13 members of the City Council ultimately confirm her.
“You just heard this Mayor and how she talks about unification and bringing Jacksonville to the next level. That’s why I’m willing to leave my corporate job, which makes a heck of a lot more money,” DeFoor, a corporate lawyer by trade with Fidelity National Title Group, told media.
The Democrat, who took office in July, also addressed her General Counsel pick.
“When you look through Randy’s body of work — what she’s done, how she’s managed, who she’s managed, her experience, her legal experience — I mean, it’s exciting to see what we’re going to bring to this General Counsel’s Office. Jacksonville is a growing city on the rise and we need to make sure that we have the very best in that department. We’re going to need them.”
The Mayor’s defense of DeFoor was the highlight of the Thursday press conference, coming after members of the supermajority GOP Council questioned the pick.
At least one veteran member says DeFoor’s confirmation will be an “uphill battle.” Another points to comportment issues, saying the nominee is “combative” and “vindictive,” traits that don’t lend well to being General Counsel. Still another calls the selection of DeFoor, who endorsed Deegan before the May election, a “political payoff.”
Other selections announced Thursday include the following: Dr. Rudy Jamison, Jr., who will serve as the Executive Director of the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission; Jimmy Midyette, who will be Diversity Manager at the Human Rights Commission; Gregory Grant, who will lead the Jacksonville Small and Emerging Businesses department; and Bill Delaney, who will be a City Council liaison, as first reported in Jacksonville Bold.
Deegan said these hires continued a trend of improving on the Lenny Curry administration’s commitment to diversity.
“We’ve also looked at the numbers and I am proud that our new hires look a lot like Jacksonville to date,” Deegan said. “Twenty-six percent of our new appointments are African American. Nine percent are Asian American, 6% other ethnicities. Three percent of our new appointments are Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 9% LGBTQ, and across the city of Jacksonville, our workforce includes 5% Hispanic,” Deegan said.
She added that her administration would be “working on improving those numbers.”
“I’ll tell you we are nearly already and we’re just getting started, folks. We are 15% more diverse in Jacksonville’s city administration than we were in the previous administration.”