Bold accusations against a top city leader aiming to get her out of the job.
Jacksonville City Councilman Matt Schellenberg has drafted proposed bill to request General Counsel Cindy Laquidara resign or the Mayor step in and separate her from her position.
The proposal is still in its early stages, but some councilmembers gathered for a posted meeting Tuesday morning to look at the proposal and gauge interest. Even if a bill does make it before council and pass, it’s unlikely to actually create change. WOKV obtained the proposal, which claims Laquidara “failed to adequately represent or provide representation of the City Government as a whole and the City Council in particular.” Schellenberg also lists more than half a dozen complaints against Laquidara.
His first example of that draws back to one year ago, when the General Counsel’s Office sent the Jaguars a letter that they had defaulted on their lease. It led to several public apologies and a lot of backtracking by city leaders to repair the relationship.
"We are concerned...that that letter to the Jaguars was unconscionable...I think she has a lot of work to do to rebuild the relationship with the city council," said Schellenberg.
Schellenberg then draws on other instances, describing her legal opinions as “demonstrably wrong”, “embarrassing” and “patently bad”. He also blames a lack of confidence in Laquidara’s work as reason the Council is seeking outside legal advice with the Mayor’s pension reform proposal. Schellenberg claims Laquidara acts more as a mouthpiece for the administration that a guardian for the government.
At Tuesday's meeting several members of city council joined Schellenberg including president Bill Bishop, Lori Boyer, Steven Joost, Richard Clark, Bill Gulliford, and John Crescimbeni to discuss the proposal and what the plans would be to proceed from this point.
Councilman Bishop wouldn't comment specifically on Schellenberg's specific complaints against Laquidara but says something ought to be done about the fact that the Mayor is the only person who can remove an appointee from office. Bishop says it makes city council feel like they are on the outside looking in.
"My hope is that the incumbent in the position gets a wake up call."
Even if the proposal passes, Laquidara can choose to not resign, in which case the decision would fall to Mayor Alvin Brown. Brown issued a statement touting Laquidara’s past achievements and honors, however, saying she is one of the state’s top government attorneys. He concludes with “I look forward to her continued service as the consolidated government’s chief attorney,” giving the definite impression there would be no action to remove her from office.
WOKV will continue to track the proposal and dig deeper in to these complaints to see exactly who is representing you.