The Downtown Investment Authority board turned Wednesday to Mayor Lenny Curry’s chief of staff Brian Hughes to serve as interim CEO for the Downtown Investment Authority.
Our Florida Times-Union news partner reports Hughes will continue to work as Curry’s chief of staff. He will not apply to be the permanent replacement for Aundra Wallace, who is leaving DIA this month to be president of JAXUSA Partnership.
DIA board Chairman Jim Bailey recommended hiring Hughes for the interim post. Bailey said he discussed the move beforehand with Curry.
Hughes, who previously was a consultant for political campaigns including Curry’s 2015 run for mayor, does not have prior experience working directly in the field of downtown development. But Bailey said Hughes has been closely involved in negotiations for downtown development proposals that went through DIA and then on to City Council.
Bailey said Hughes “probably understands this organization and the deals that we’re making and the relationship with City Council better than anybody else in the city.”
“We’re in the middle of so many negotiations and so many large deals that we cannot take a bump in the road at all,” Bailey said.