Duval County Voters Add Two New Referenda To Jacksonville City Charter

May 21, 2015

Referendum 1 gives the City Council the power to fire the city’s General Counsel. Referendum 2 requires the mayor to appoint city department heads within 90 days of their departure.
Credit Ray Hollister / WJCT News

In addition to electing a new mayor, sheriff and several city council members, Duval County voters also approved two referenda amending Jacksonville’s charter.

The first affects the city’s attorney or general counsel.

Not only does it list specific qualifications for the position, it also dilutes the mayor’s control of the office by giving the City Council the power to fire an attorney.

Rick Mullaney, Director of the Public Policy Institute at Jacksonville University, says the change could help eliminate the perception of favoritism.

Mullaney said, “For the average voter, what they really want is a general counsel’s office that’s providing legal services to all clients of consolidated government in a fair and even handed manner.”

The second referendum requires the mayor to appoint city department heads in a timely manner after a position is vacated.  

Voters approved both measures by about a 40 percent margin.