Officials Urge Jax To Appoint Chief Resilience Officer, Establish Office Of Resilience

Jan 29, 2020

Leaders from around Northeast Florida are calling on Jacksonville - the largest city in the region by far - to appoint a chief resilience officer or establish an Office of Resilience, but Mayor Lenny Curry is not yet taking a position on the issue.

During the first meeting of Jacksonville’s new Special Committee on Resilience, several committee members openly supported the idea of appointing a chief resilience officer (CRO), who would help the city prepare for sea level rise and other effects of climate change.

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

Committee chair and At-Large Group 4 City Councilman Matt Carlucci reiterated his support on First Coast Connect With Melissa Ross on Wednesday morning.

“I want us to begin looking at the responsibilities of a chief resilience officer and start looking at the budget for a chief resilience officer so we can have one, perhaps, in place within a year,” he said.

At the Southeast Disaster & Carribean Recovery Partnership meeting on Tuesday, during a panel discussion moderated by Northeast Florida Regional Council Resiliency Coordinator Sean Lahav, Atlantic Beach Mayor Ellen Glasser said environmental issues and resilience are priorities in her city and she thinks Jacksonville should make them priorities as well and appoint a CRO.

Related: Building Northeast Florida’s Resilience By Bringing Business Leaders To The Table

St. Augustine’s CRO Mike Cullum said he thinks Jacksonville should consider establishing an Office of Resiliency so that the city can have more than one person working on issues related to sea level rise, flooding, and hurricanes.

District 6 Jacksonville City Councilman Michael Boylan, who is a member of the city’s new Special Committee on Resiliency, said he thinks Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry might be open to appointing a CRO, but probably won’t want to establish an Office of Resilience.

Boylan went on to say that having a network of CROs in the region and state is going to be critical moving forward and that he hopes to help lead an institutional shift towards climate action in Jacksonville.

Related: Jacksonville Drops Out Of Rockefeller Foundation’s ‘100 Resilient Cities’

When asked about whether he would support adding a CRO, Mayor Curry said in an email statement to WJCT News: 

“The City Council has a committee commissioned by Scott Wilson and that committee will produce a report at its conclusion that makes a variety of recommendations. I will consider those very carefully when I have all of the information.”

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