Council Members Work To Ensure Constituents Of Suspended Colleagues Have Representation

Jun 12, 2018

Several Jacksonville City Council members say they’ll advocate for a handful of bills that were being sponsored by suspended council members Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown, of Districts 8 and 10. They are facing indictments on dozens of federal charges of fraud.

Maps of District 8 and District 10

Council President Anna Lopez Brosche  called a meeting Monday to discuss what would happen to legislation the two had introduced but hadn’t yet gone through the legislative process.

“It’s very important,” Brosche said. “These pieces of legislation were introduced. There’s a lot of thought behind these pieces of legislation.”

Some council members say they’ll need more information before getting behind bills but made a commitment to look into them.

Councilman Garrett Dennis said he plans to ask for a withdrawal of one of Katrina Brown’s bills. It would have required the entire City Council to workshop the city’s budget, something that’s normally left up to the Finance Committee.

Councilman Reggie Gaffney said he’s more concerned about the District 8 and 10 projects that hadn’t yet turned into legislation, saying he’s had constituents approach him who had been meeting with Reggie Brown or Katrina Brown.

“I just need to know what I can do,” Gaffney said. “This is new to all of us because one of the things we don’t do is go into another councilman’s district.”

Maps of District 8 and District 10

The situation is made complicated by city lawyers’ advising council members not to talk to the Browns about their projects while they look into the legality of such discussions, after Councilman Garrett Dennis asked whether he could approach them.

Sunshine laws prohibit city officials from speaking to colleagues about legislative matters outside of noticed meetings, but lawyer Peggy Sidman said she’d need to clarify whether that law applies to suspended council members because there’s a possibility they could come back.

Brosche and Sam Newby, who are both at-large council members  —  meaning they represent all districts — have committed to being point people for Districts 8 and 10.

Constituents in those districts can still call their council members’ offices to speak with the suspended members’ executive assistants, who will pass along information to Brosche and Newby. Those constituents can also directly call Brosche and Newby’s offices.

Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.