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After Short Meeting, Councilman Supportive Of Council President Brosche’s Transparency Taskforce

Exterior of Jacksonville City Hall.
Joslyn Simmons

The Jacksonville City Council is expected to vote on several measures Tuesday night touching on issues ranging from business to blight, but by the time bills go up for a vote, that means it’s too late for the public to comment.

That’s part of the reason City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche wants to create a government transparency task force to help residents understand the process better. Her proposal is one of the items up for a final vote this week.

Brosche’s measure hit a snag when Councilman Al Ferraro objected to the inclusion of former Atlantic Beach Councilwoman Maria Mark as one of the 11 proposed members.

Mark stirred up controversy shortly after her re-election loss three years ago after showing someone’s home — police believed she under the influence of alcohol — and accosting an outspoken citizen who supported her opponent and was one of her regular critics, our Florida Times-Union news partner reported.

Brosche said she doesn’t believe one moment of weakness detracts from Mark’s experience with transparency, but she doesn’t want the controversial pick to block the task force’s approval.

“I brought together a diverse group of people, both as a reflection of the community as well as an interest in this particular topic and Ms. Mark was one of those individuals,” she said. “I had introduced this legislation to move forward as quickly as possible because they will need to complete their work by June 30.”

That’s when her term as council president ends.

Brosche first proposed the task force after a perceived lack of transparency surrounding the possible sale of public utility JEA.

Other items on the agenda include council members asking to consider honoring firemen who rescued workers dangling from a bank building; renaming EverBank Field for new owner TIAA Bank; and requiring tires for sale to be stored out of public view and away from the street.

Ryan Benk can be reached at, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @RyanMichaelBenk.

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.