December 10, 2019
In The Public Interest

Government

The government of Jacksonville is organized under the city charter and provides for a “strong” mayor–council system.

The Mayor of Jacksonville is elected to four-year terms and serves as the head of the government’s executive branch. The Jacksonville City Council comprises nineteen members, fourteen representing electoral districts and five more in at-large seats. The mayor oversees most city departments, though some are independent or quasi-independent. Law enforcement is provided by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, headed by an elected sheriff, public schools are overseen by Duval County Public Schools, and several services are provided by largely independent authorities.

In accordance with Florida law, the Duval County School Board exists with nearly complete autonomy. Jacksonville also has several quasi-independent government agencies which only nominally answer to the consolidated authority, including JEAJacksonville Port AuthorityJacksonville Transportation AuthorityJacksonville Housing Authority and Jacksonville Aviation Authority. The Duval County Soil and Water Conservation District, which works closely with other area and state agencies.

The Jacksonville Environmental Protection Board has the primary regulatory environmental role in the City. By virtue of authority provided to them by the State Legislature and the City Council, they have regulatory authority for environmental matters in Duval County with a primary focus on Air, Odors, Noise and Water. They have rulemaking authority and the power to assess up to $10,000 per day, per violation of JEPB rules. They essentially serve as the City Council for most all environmental matters. They are a nine member board with appointments, in specific categories, by the Mayor and the City Council and all are approved by the city council. 

The Office of the General Counsel (OGC), currently led by Jason R. Gabriel, includes 39 attorneys, making it one of the largest and diverse law firms in Jacksonville. It operates just like a private firm because “clients” are billed in detail for legal services provided. Clients include the public utility provider (JEA), the school district (Duval County Public Schools), Airport, Seaport, Transportation and Housing Authorities, constitutional officers (Mayor, Supervisor of Elections, Property Appraiser, Sheriff, Tax Collector and Clerk of Court), 10 departments, 19 City Council members, and 40+ boards, commissions, and agencies. Due to this unusual client list, the General Counsel’s website states that they offer support for areas that include commercial, personal injury, constitutional & civil rights litigation, real estate, land use, environmental law, labor and employment law, education law, workers’ compensation, eminent domain, foreclosures, evictions, bankruptcy, torts, municipal finance, procurement, contract negotiation and drafting, and a variety of economic development and transactional areas.

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Source: Wikipedia & COJ.net

Information Updated by Jaxlookout.com 7/25/19. Please check page links for changes. Report outdated information here.

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