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Over the weekend another news outlet uncovered information about the men around Mayor Curry.

According to the Florida Times Union, Mayor Curry’s political strategist, Tim Baker, sat in on numerous JEA “closed-door” meetings at the insistence of Aaron Zahn – now the former CEO of JEA. Not only is this wrong – it stinks to high heaven. There was no reason for him to be in those meetings. None. You can read the article here: Mayor Lenny Curry’s political strategist offered JEA advice on privatization, attended private meetings

In August 2019, Eye pointed out that Mayor Curry’s consultants (and others) were pulling the Mayor’s strings. We warned the Mayor that he needed to lead instead of listening to others who were not elected Mayor. Evidently he didn’t care what we said. Maybe he will now.

You can read that article here: “Is Mayor Curry leading or others pulling his strings?”

As stated in our article, “In the last few months we have seen too many stories about the men around the Mayor: Brian Hughes, Sam Mousa and Tim Baker — to name a few. They are creating problems for the Mayor and he’s letting them do it.”

Five months later, we stand by that statement because our prediction of trouble for the Mayor has come true. Unfortunately that also means trouble for our City.

Mayor Curry has not been the leader he was elected to be or the one he promised to be. He has abandoned his role and allowed unqualified men to do his work in the city and at JEA. The city is in deep trouble with back-room deals, cronyism, corruption, and a bad image that is resonating across the country. Stories in numerous papers outside Jacksonville have picked up the mess at JEA. It’s embarrassing.

What is happening in our city is politics (campaign consultant tactics) has taken over our government similar to the days of Watergate and President Nixon. In the book, All the President’s Men – this statement could speak of Jacksonville today:

“On evenings such as those, Deep Throat had talked about how politics had infiltrated every corner of government—a strong-arm takeover of the agencies by the Nixon White House (Mayor Lenny Curry?). Junior White House aides (Brian Hughes?) were giving orders on the highest levels of the bureaucracy. He had once called it the “switchblade mentality”—and had referred to the willingness of the President’s (Mayor’s) men to fight dirty and for keeps, regardless of what effect the slashing might have on the government and the nation (city).”

How do we fix this?

Simple: A city should be run by governance experts using sound governance policies and not campaign consultant’s schemes and strategies. Why is that?

Campaign consultants use dirty tactics to take down opposition and make deals with others to help them do it. They do what is best for the WIN —for them and not for us.

Friends, it’s also time for us to see bold courage from our City Council members and the State Attorney. No more should any of them be beholding to campaign consultants bullying and threatening them to get what they want. If they let this behavior stand the way it is now — a grand jury should “follow the money” and find out who’s doing what to who and who has waved money in front of them. And then handcuffs should be in order.

That’s how All the President’s Men were exposed and that’s how All the Mayor’s Men will be exposed too.

Remember Jacksonville is our home. Our home needs to be filled with an atmosphere of peace, prosperity and community for all of us not just some of us.

Politics has no business in our government. Period.

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Billie Tucker Volpe Founder of Eye on Jacksonville and Leadership Consultant to CEOs/Executives

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