Jacksonville City Councilman Looks To Hire Chief Resilience Officer

Feb 18, 2020

City Councilman Aaron Bowman plans to file legislation this week requesting $300,000 in next year’s city budget to establish a permanent chief resilience officer position in Jacksonville.

The CRO would work across government departments to coordinate efforts to prepare Jacksonville for threats like sea level rise, flooding, and hurricanes.

Related: Jacksonville Scientists, Academics Urge Mayor And City Council To Take On Climate Change

“In most of the larger counties and cities, you're starting to see, most or all of them are getting a resiliency officer,” Bowman said. “I think it's time we do it too.”

Bowman’s pending legislation will be part of the City Council’s annual request to Mayor Lenny Curry’s administration as they’re building next year’s city budget. He plans to introduce it on Thursday. 

The request comes shortly after the city’s new Special Committee on Resiliency met for the first time. 

Related: Several City Council Members Say They Want A Chief Resilience Officer In Jacksonville

During that meeting several city councilmembers on the committee, including Bowman, openly supported the idea of appointing a CRO, and committee Chair Matt Carlucci said he hoped to secure the funding necessary to hire a CRO in next year’s city budget.

“I don’t think there’s any disagreement that we’ve got to be ready. Irma was pretty painful and we want to do everything we can to protect our residents,” Bowman said in an interview Tuesday. “I think City Council's fully aligned and I can tell you [after] working with the administration last year and the mayor, they are certainly on board with it as well.”

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.