Last year, various mishaps and miscues involving city employees or city property cost the taxpayers $1.8 million.

That’s a bite but it is nothing out of the ordinary. It happens in every city.

Most of the incidents involved the police and fire departments and the JEA. Vehicles struck cars owned by citizens or other damage was caused.

Only about 680 of the nearly 2,200 claims resulted in a payout, according to the Office of Risk Management. These were allegations of tripping over sidewalk cracks, damage to cars from potholes and someone who claimed his car was dented while the police were arresting his son, who was resisting arrest.

There were a number of cases in which people alleged they tripped over a crack in a sidewalk. This is a standing joke but it happens, and when it can be proven damages are paid. In one case, the person who tripped got a check for $35,000.

Another expensive slip-and-fall was when someone fell in the city library and collected $40,000.

Not all claims succeed. For example, a woman who claimed her food was spoiled because the power went off did not get reimbursed.

The most expensive payout was $115,000 to someone who had a back injury when his car was hit by a police car.

Someone else got $75,000. She claimed she was sexually assaulted/raped by a Jacksonville Housing Authority employee.

Then there was the time Animal Control took two dogs that were up for adoption to a City Council meeting. Someone tripped over one of the dogs (named Elvis) and got bitten. He also got $35,000 from the taxpayers.

Several people got amounts around $25 after claiming the garbage collector took their garbage – and their garbage can.

The least expensive incident was when a JEA foul-up inconvenienced a water customer and she got $11.98.

One guy said his pacemaker was damaged by going through the X-ray machine in the courthouse. No dough.

The number of claims rejected indicates someone in the city is vetting claims pretty carefully. That should rate a Wink.


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Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.


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