Rules Committee Special Meeting Minutes-Amended

 April 18, 2017

Immediately following 1:00 p.m. regular committee meeting


Topic: Boards and commission review with the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission and the Ethics Commission. Presentation: Fire Chief Wilson on departmental hiring.


Location: City Council Chamber, 1st floor, City Hall – St. James Building, 117 West Duval Street


In attendance: Council Members Garrett Dennis (Chair), John Crescimbeni (Vice Chair), Greg Anderson, Danny Becton, Jim Love, Tommy Hazouri, Scott Wilson (early departure-excused).

Also: Peggy Sidman - Office of General Counsel; Heather Reber -Council Auditor’s Office, Allison Korman Shelton -Mayor’s Office, Colleen Hampsey - Council Research Division, Crystal Shemwell -Legislative Services.

Chairman Dennis called the meeting to order at 3:15 p.m.

Fire Chief Kurtis Wilson gave a presentation about departmental hiring practices. In accordance with a 2016 legal settlement, Chief Wilson must regularly report to the Rules Committee on employee demographics and diversity in recruitment. Chief Wilson is tasked with having a department which is reflective of the demographics of the city workforce while not violating federal employment prohibitions on hiring based on racial quotas. According to Chief Wilson’s data, the current recruitment classes are close to being representative of the city workforce minority percentages (approximately 70 percent white, 30 percent minorities, including 10 veterans), but not for gender (roughly 7 percent of employees are female). Chief Wilson noted that recruiting female applicants is challenging and that the national average for female fire department employees is around 5 percent. Chief Wilson also presented a list of locations and job fairs where his recruiters focus their efforts to find a pool of applicants.

Council Member Hazouri spoke briefly about his proposed changes to the TRUE Commission ordinance, which reduces the membership, changes the appointment process and directs the Finance Committee to assign research topics. Council Member Becton voiced concerns regarding the proposed changes, which may detract from TRUE’s oversight powers. Ralph Hodges of the TRUE Commission offered public comment in opposition to TRUE’s restructuring. The legislation will be introduced at the next Council meeting.

Council Member Wilson had an excused early departure.

Chairman David Case spoke about the current state of affairs for the Jacksonville Historical Preservation Commission.  The Jacksonville Historical Preservation Commission conducts surveys and inventories of historical buildings and architectural sites, identifies landmarks, recommends areas to be named historical districts, approves applications for historical status and demolition, and plans for preservation. Mr. Case suggested that, if any changes were to be made to the commission, he would suggest increasing the length of service for commissioners, adding more classically trained architects (though they are somewhat scarce), adding an attorney and finding a better resourced meeting space.

Carla Miller, Ethics Director, spoke about the Ethics Commission. The Ethics Commission’s purpose includes interpretation and advising, in accordance with Chapter 602 Ordinance Code and Section 1.202 Municipal Charter, investigating and issuing findings for ethics complaints, assisting in the city’s ethics education program and acting as the hiring committee for the Ethics and Oversight Compliance Office. Ms. Miller stated that the main role of the Ethics Commission is to educate, rather than punish. Ms. Miller suggested a change to the language in the charter to adjust the time allowed for elected officials to complete ethics training after an election is certified, from 45 days to 90 days.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:58 p.m.


Colleen Hampsey, Council Research Division

Posted 4.19.17   12:00 pm