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Mayor-elect Deegan announces teams to study Jacksonville issues

Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan.
Will Brown
Jacksonville Today
Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan.

Mayor-elect Donna Deegan has announced the leaders of transition teams that will review the opportunities and challenges facing Jacksonville as she prepares to take office July 1.

Deegan, who will become the city's first female mayor, announced committees that will focus on infrastructure, health, economic development, public safety, arts, community outreach, and the military and veterans.

“I’m excited to announce our policy and outreach committees that will develop plans to move forward our vision of a healthy, safe, resilient, inclusive and innovative city that works for all of us,” Deegan said in a news release Tuesday. “These efforts are being led by collaborative leaders who bring deep community roots and long-established records of service.”

The transition committees and leaders are:

  • Infrastructure Committee, focusing on neighborhoods, the Downtown riverfront, parks and recreation, resiliency, affordable housing and homelessness, led by Garrett Dennis, a former Jacksonville city councilman, construction business owner and restaurateur.
  • Health Committee, focusing on the appointment of a chief health officer, maternal and children’s health, primary and dental care access, mental health and addiction, elder care, social determinants of health and health insurance. It will be led by Carolyn McClanahan, a financial adviser and physician.
  • Economic Development Committee, focusing on permitting, help for small business, talent development and Downtown development. This focus area will be led by JEA Director of Economic Development Ed Randolph, who previously served as the city’s director of business development.
  • Public Safety Committee, focusing on revisiting the Jacksonville Journey, a citywide effort to stem crime through youth services and literacy programs. It also will address criminal justice reform, led by W.C. Gentry, former Jacksonville Journey education chair and a former Duval County School Board chairman.
  • Arts, Culture, and Entertainment Committee, focusing on retaining local arts talent, public and private programming, art in public spaces and buildings, and attracting more public events, led by Hope McMath, Yellow House founder and director.
  • Constituency and Community Outreach Committee, focusing on diversity, youth outreach, faith outreach, higher education and nonprofit agencies, led by Parvez Ahmed, director of graduate programs at the University of North Florida Coggin College of Business.
  • Military and Veterans Committee, focusing on issues and concerns facing local military members, establishing a veterans community center, and improving access to veterans activities and services. This will be led by retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Rick Snyder.

Deegan, a charity founder and former TV anchor, defeated Jax Chamber CEO Daniel Davis in the election May 16. She received 52% of the vote.
Just before Memorial Day, Deegan announced the leaders of her transition team, six people she said she selected to represent Jacksonville's political diversity. They are retired Assistant Police Chief Lakesha Burton, former Mayor John Delaney, Operation New Hope founder Kevin Gay, former Jacksonville Sheriff Nat Glover, Brightway Insurance co-founder/executive chairman David Miller, and Florida Blue North Florida market president Darnell Smith.

Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years as a radio, television and print reporter in the Jacksonville area, as well as years of broadcast work in the Northeast. You can reach Dan at, (904) 607-2770 or on Twitter at @scanlan_dan.