City Council Passes Mayor's Reorganization Plan | News

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City Council Passes Mayor's Reorganization Plan
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Changes are in store for the City of Jacksonville's government operations.

Tuesday night, the city council approved most of Mayor Alvin Brown's government reorganization bill.

The mayor's plan didn't pass entirely.

There was criticism early on in the Jacksonville City Council meeting. Much of it was concern over voting too quickly on the mayor's reorganization bill.

"I almost feel like Congress. We're going to push something down... like 'it's my way or the highway,'"Councilmember Denise Lee said.

Without question, the mayor's office wanted to see the plan passed.

The mayor's Chief of Staff, Chris Hand, told reporters, "Citizens and taxpayers shouldn't have to wait for the reform."

The proposed reorganization is 88 pages of changes to, as Hand said, make government more efficient and effective.

One major sticking point with the reorganization plan for some council members was the Jacksonville Children's Commission.

"I don't think we understand all the details," Ken Wilson, the Children's Commission Chairman said.

The reorganization called for changes to the Children's Commission, a program that's ranked in the top six across the country, according to Wilson.

It oversees the funding for programs such as the Early Literacy Program and the DLC Nurse and Learn which helps disabled children.

"I personally can't get comfortable with unraveling a progressive and positive program that's accomplishing things now," Wilson told the media Tuesday night.

In the end, the council voted to approve the reorganization plan as well as a handful of amendments. One of those amendments removed the Children's Commission from the reorganization plan entirely. It was a move Wilson felt "comfortable" about.

"It allows us the step back with the mayor's help and come together and meet over the next month and put together the details needed," Wilson explained after the vote.

"We'll return to the Children's Commission issue. The administration's been meeting with the stakeholders and we will continue to do that. We didn't want the perfect to be the enemy of a very good result tonight," Hand said.

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