JaxPoliticsOnline.com

Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

JAA Appoints Interim CEO, Gets Federal Money

Jim McCollum, a former BellSouth Regional Director and current member of the JAA Board, has been appointed by the JAA Board to serve as Interim CEO until a permanent replacement has been hired.  JAA also announced that they have “approved the establishment of a Cecil Field Development Policy that allows the JAA to offer special considerations, such as lease concessions and incentives, to help stimulate development at Cecil Field during this difficult economic environment. The policy will be in place for five years or until such time the U.S. economy and financial markets have demonstrated a trend of recovery – whichever comes first.”

In addition, the Board announced that they will appropriate $1.5 million dollars in order to receive matching federal stimulus grants of $4.6 million for airport improvement projects at Jacksonville International Airport.  The specific projects have yet to be identified, but JAA management will report to the Board before awarding any contracts.

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Indy Media Takes on John Clark

John Clark’s “baggage”, as the Indianapolis Business Journal put it, “has arrived before him.”  Jacksonville City Councilman Bill Bishop has a priceless quote in the article that can be found here.

The man nominated to be CEO of the Indianapolis Airport Authority has been a polarizing figure in Jacksonville, where he’s been CEO of the Florida city’s aviation authority since 2001. 

During that time, Clark amassed a long list of critics — ranging from the city council to airport police to neighborhood residents in the path of a proposed runway extension. 

Jacksonville’s alternative newspaper, Folioweekly, in November published a scathing article about Clark, painting him as a big spender with little regard for authority.

Recently named chairman of the North American division of Airports Council International, Clark has flown around the world for ACI conferences, at the airport authority’s expense. 

According to the newspaper, Clark has flown to Shanghai, Brussels, Frankfort, Paris, London and Buenos Aires in the past two years, racking up expensive hotel bills, including a $726-per-night room in Buenos Aires and $582 room in Paris. His trip to the London Air Show cost the authority $10,491 and his trip to Shanghai cost $11,304.

“I’ve said on several occasions I’d be happy to write him a letter of recommendation, if it got him a job somewhere else,” said Bill Bishop, a Jacksonville architect and city councilman who helped stop Clark and the Jacksonville Aviation Authority from extending a runway into a residential area.
 
Hours after the Indianapolis Airport Authority announced Clark’s selection on March 10, bloggers who had “Googled” his name starting having a field day questioning the authority’s CEO pick.

Filed under: Jacksonville, , , , , , ,

Ethics Commission Adds Scott Shine, Looks for Independence

The City’s Ethics Commission added long-time political activist Scott Shine as their newest member and pledged to work towards more independence. The Commission currently has no subpoena power and its authority is somewhat vague. It also apparently has no authority over the City’s independent agencies, something quite concerning considering the ongoing controversies at the Jacksonville Port Authority and the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.

The City’s Ethics Officer, which often investigates allegations of wrong-doing by the Mayor and members of his staff, reports to the Mayor—a conflict of interest that the Mayor seems to be quite comfortable with.

Filed under: Jacksonville, , , , , , , , ,

Jacksonville’s Ethics Hotline Cases

The City’s Ethics Officer has released an update on complaints made via the Ethics Hotline. (630-1015, just in case anyone has something they would like to report.) Once again, although the employees of the City (and citizens) are to be commended for reporting behavior that they deemed unethical, it does appear that the majority of these cases seem to be swept under the rug. Among the most recent cases:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Party reminder

We previously posted this around Thanksgiving, but know that with the rush of so many parties, you may have forgotten this one.  We definitely don’t want you to miss out on the opportunity to lobby your City Council members and others.  So here goes.

Don’t forget about the big tailgate party hosted by John Rood (Vestcor) and Michael Stewart (Jacksonville Aviation Authority)  this Thursday night at the Jaguars/Colts game.  Just in case you lost your invitation, here’s another one you can print.

Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, Mayor of Jacksonville, , , , , , ,

Jax Chamber to City Council: Don’t Watch Taxpayer Dollars Too Closely!

According to the Daily Record, the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce is opposed to efforts to rein in the City’s independent agencies, which are run by un-elected Boards of Directors. The Chamber is calling on the Council—the City’s elected body charged by the taxpayers with administering tax revenue—to stay out of the agencies operations.

The Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce opposes two bills that would allow City Council to partially regulate what the city’s independent agencies can and can’t do. In a letter to Council President Ronnie Fussell, Chamber Chair Ron Autrey says the consolidated nature of Jacksonville’s government was established to assure the independence of those agencies. “The Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce urges you to vote no” on the two bills, wrote Autrey.

Surprise!

Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, , , , , , , , ,

Cashin’ In at the JAA

Folio Weekly has a top-notch expose out this week on John Clark, the head of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.  Serving as the head of an independent agency is quite lucrative—at least in Jacksonville, Florida.  Mr. Clark’s compensation ranks him as the highest paid airport executive in the state, even higher than Atlanta’s airport.  (And, in case you are wondering, Jacksonville comes nowhere close to competing with Atlanta, Miami or Orlando in terms of volume.)  According to Folio, Mr. Clark’s compensation includes:

  • Base salary of $241,000 (with an automatic 5% annual increase through 2012)
  • $850 monthly car allowance
  • $750 monthly cell phone/business expense allowance ($50 annual increase)
  • 100% coverage of health insurance premiums
  • Membership dues to the River Club or University Club
  • $15,000 annual retirement contribution
  • Business travel expenses, as needed, which included such things as $10,491 to attend this year’s London Air Show and $11,304 to attend an Airports Council International meeting in Shanghai

Folio pointed out that Mr. Clark recently ordered staff cuts at JIA, presumably to preserve the 30% operating margin that triggers an automatic 30% bonus payout to him ($72,300).  The City Council, particularly Clay Yarborough, Glorious Johnson and Bill Bishop, appear to have taken an interest in reigning in JAA by attempting to restrict his dictatorial powers to move around his budget.  With JAA operating at such impressive margins, perhaps its time for it to start contributing to the City’s general fund, much like another independent authority (the JEA) does…

Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, , , , , , , , , ,

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