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Mayor Lenny Curry

I heard Mayor Curry speak last week at a special event. I was concerned with his demeanor and he appeared to be rattled a little.

I can understand why. There is a lot of chaos going on downtown and JEA is certainly one of the biggest issues he is dealing with.

Which is interesting because he completely left JEA out of his presentation. The absence of JEA was noticed by many in the room. It was indeed the so-called “elephant in the room.”

But what caught my eye more than anything else was his “table-slap” gesture. I’ve worked with speakers for 30+ years and this gesture is a palm-down cue in which a level surface is struck by a clap with the open hand.

It is used to accent a key speaking point; to object to other people’s statements; to demonstrate an emotion such as anger and to call attention to one’s own presence.

As he spoke, he was table slapping the podium during certain points in his speech. He spoke about crime and all the money he budgeted to get crime under control. He was table slapping about some of the programs put in place and yet he failed to discuss the fact crime is still on the rise. That is very sad for our community.

He brought up downtown and all they are planning to do there. His table slapping became stronger when he said, “I don’t care what you are reading or seeing about The Landing location but we are not turning it into a park. We have plans for that space.”

He was angry about “misinformation” showing up on news outlets. However, we are not informed by him as to the vision for that space.

His anger towards us is brought on by his lack of communication to us. Table slap all he wants – he created this void of information.

The table slapping is a cue to us. Our Mayor is under intense pressure and shortly after we left the meeting, news came out he had handed off the JEA deal to the City Council. One can only imagine how much table slapping was going on while that letter was written.

And then we hear the CEO of JEA has some deals going on behind the scenes that will make him a rich guy. Not good. Not good at all.

Then more breaking news regarding JEA comes from Rep. Matt Carlucci. He is calling for a Grand Jury investigation into JEA. WOW.

JEA is no longer the elephant in the room. It is being discussed all over town, at every political gathering and at holiday parties. All news sources are filled with headlines with JEA in them.

We believe whatever schemes were going on behind the scenes are unraveling and exposure will bring light to the chaos at JEA. It’s unfortunate and it must happen so we can stop the madness and discord and bring sanity back to our community. We deserve calm leadership.

You can table slap to that!

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

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