Despite the Mayor’s continued bleatings that he was too afraid of being sued to watch out for the long-term interests of Duval County taxpayers, the City’s top lawyer appears to have respectfully disagreed. In a letter written to the Mayor and released to The Times-Union, Rick Mullaney stated that “the city would win a court dispute over the terms of its contract with Waste Management to operate Trail Ridge landfill.” Of course, Mullaney threw the Mayor a bone by acknowledging that an appeals process could take years. The Mayor immediately seized on Mullaney’s admission to justify his position stating, once again, that he was afraid of being sued.
Of course, the Mayor fails to acknowledge the obvious. No lawsuit has been filed. Yes, a lawsuit has been threatened, but lawsuits are threatened on a daily basis. Not all cases are appealed, but if they are, there is always a chance they could drag on for years. Which begs the question, Is the Mayor running Jacksonville like a business? That is, after all, exactly what he promised, correct? WWHPD? Certainly you recognize that question—what would Herb Peyton do? The Mayor’s father, a Jacksonville business legend, has never been one to fold his cards at the mere threat of a lawsuit. His son doesn’t seem to share his fortitude.
Any business should work to limit risk. But, government is not a business. While it should never proceed recklessly with total disregard to the rule of law, when it has law and right on its side, it should act decisively. Cowering in the face of threats like John Peyton and Stephen Joost are proposing certainly doesn’t demonstrate leadership—it speaks to an inner wimpiness. Certainly that’s not the message they—particularly Joost—wish to send about their leadership abilities. Read the rest of this entry »