Pension reform

Friday on our weekly “First Coast Connect” Media Roundtable, we featured Florida Times-Union reporter Sebastian Kitchen, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk. We also spoke with Dylan Read, lifestyle director of Shearwater, about Earth Day events Saturday in St. Johns County. HandsOn Jacksonville CEO LeAnn Daddario told us about next Sunday’s Celebrate GOOD Festival and artist Lana Shuttleworth talked about her exhibit being unveiled Friday night at the Space Gallery. 


  Tuesday on “First Coast Connect” we heard from local labor attorney Tad Delegal about Mayor Lenny Curry’s pension reform plan. The First Coast Connect Book Club with blogger Stacey Goldring focused on the classic novel “The Stranger.” University of North Florida Communications Department Chair and director of the master’s program Brian Thornton talked about the school’s new master’s degree program in communication management and Florida Blue Foundation vice-president Susan Towler talked about being this month’s “Woman with Heart” raising awareness of Volunteers in Medicine. 


Friday on “First Coast Connect” our weekly Media Roundtable featured Florida Times Union reporter Dan Scanlan, WJCT reporter Lindsey Kilbride, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth and WJCT Business Analyst John Burr. We also spoke with local author Steve Berry about his latest thriller “The Lost Order” and we heard a live in-studio performance from Miami-based band Sofilla.  


front page of suit
John Winkler

A lawsuit challenging the pension sales-tax referendum Jacksonville voters passed in August could soon include six additional accusations against city leaders.

Friday on “First Coast Connect,” was our weekly Media Roundtable. Our panel included Andrew Pantazi and Dan Scanlan from the Florida Times-Union and WJCT business analyst John Burr. We also heard from Florida Theatre president Numa Saisselin about its new partnership with Community First Credit Union and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Alhambra Theatre we were joined cast members of their current production of the play Come Blow Your Horn, Tod Booth, Lisa Booth and Jessica Booth.  

  

www.facebook.com/futureleadersofjaxcoalition

The Future Leaders of Jax Coalition, a non-partisan organization engaging young adults, wants to get young people to support a Jacksonville tax referendum that would help pay off pension debt.

FLJC is hosting an event Wednesday night at 6 at Bistro Aix in San Marco to discuss the tax referendum with Mayor Lenny Curry.

Curry’s proposed half-cent sales tax would go into effect in 2030 to free up pension money for other city projects.

Coalition co-founder Jenny Busby, who's co-hosting the event, is the aide to City Councilman Tommy Hazouri. 

Jessica Palombo / WJCT News

Updated at 2:20 p.m.:   

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry unveiled an austere city budget Monday that “reflects the constraints that we face due to increasing pension costs.”

Many services are remaining at minimum levels, while nearly a third of the whole budget is going toward pension costs.


City Hall
Ray Hollister / WJCT News

Jacksonville voters are a step closer to deciding whether to extend a sales tax for the sake of reducing pension debt.

At the request of Mayor Lenny Curry, City Council President Greg Anderson has filed a bill that would put the question on the August 30 primary ballot.


Jacksonville City Hall, St. James Building
Ray Hollister / WJCT News

The Jacksonville City Council Finance Committee says it will subpoena Police and Fire Pension Fund executives for documents as part of an audit.

Committee Chairman Bill Gulliford says the independent auditor is being stonewalled when asking for information accessible only by former pension fund administrator John Keane.

“He said that he had instances where he got that response back — no documents or whatever,” Gulliford said, “and yet he had physical emails or letters from another source that indicated those documents were available. Now, which is it? Who’s fibbing?”

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Larry Hannan, Florida Times-Union reporter; Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; A.G. Gancarski, Folio Weekly and Florida Politics columnist; and WJCT analyst John Burr.

Topics include the pension reform deal passed by the Jacksonville City Council this week, Jaguars owner Shad Khan's Stache Investments group starting foreclosure proceedings against the developers of the historic Laura Street Trio, and more.

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