Mayor expected to veto courthouse furniture

Council votes to spend $750,000 on new furniture

Published On: May 09 2012 06:39:36 PM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The fight over new courtroom furniture is now in the hands of the Mayor Alvin Brown.

While City County's 18-to-1 vote allocating $750,000 on furniture for hearing rooms on the seventh floor of the Duval County Courthouse set to open at the end of the month, Brown has signaled he may veto the bill.

The dispute over buying new furniture has been a major battle between the mayor, Chief Judge Donald Moran and City Council members.

"This is not about politics. It's about difficult economic times and that we protect taxpayers' dollars," said the mayor's chief of staff, Chris Hand.

Hand says he anticipates when the mayor gets the legislation he will exercise his right to veto it.

If that happens, council members told Channel 4 they still have lots of questions about how the mayor plans to save money by using old furniture -- furniture some say members say will contaminate the new courthouse with mold.

Council President Stephen Joost says the old furniture could end up costing us more.

"You can't be penny wise and pound foolish and say, 'All right, we are moving the courthouse and now it's not going to be functional.' How much more money is that going to end up costing the citizens?"

Joost went on to say he would not call this a defeat for the mayor because he says Brown has saved millions by making other cuts at the courthouse.

The city is expected to begin moving into the new courthouse on May 18. It will be open for court business on May 29.