New mayor, sheriff meet, plan for future

Lenny Curry, Mike Williams look ahead as they prepare to take their offices


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville government will be undergoing a major shift in a little more than a month, with a new mayor and sheriff and many new city council members.

Mayor-elect Lenny Curry is preparing to make his move into City Hall, and sheriff-elect Mike Williams is planning changes for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

The two said they've talked before, but they are now ready to get to work. On Wednesday, they had their first meeting since the election and talked about the city's budget and how to fund the police department.

"Lenny and I got to know each other during the campaign a little bit," Williams said. "But now it's down to brass tacks on some of the pieces of the transitions that we would like to do together to make sure we are on the same page and hit the ground running July 1."

In July, Curry will have to present a budget. He was at City Hall on Wednesday to meet with Mayor Alvin Brown and state lawmakers.

But at his lunch with Williams, the conversation turned to crime.

"We've talked a number of times since the election," Curry said. "It's just about us meeting regularly with the same agenda, which is to make the city safe again. Enforcement, prevention and intervention, it's a real serious approach to it."

As far as plans for their administrations, Williams said JSO will have a new level of top brass. Those changes started Wednesday with the appointment of chief of patrol Pat Ivey as the new undersheriff. Ivey has been with JSO for 22 years.

At City Hall, Curry said all jobs are on the line. Curry's staff said resumes have been flying in, but Curry said he has not made any decisions.

"Everyone will be evaluated," Curry said. "I want the best people in the positions in Jacksonville accountable to me, accountable to the taxpayers. And the priorities are budget, public safety and making sure City Hall has the right people in place."

Curry said he is working with the City Council to look at an in-depth audit to see how the city is actually spending money and where there is waste.

Williams said he is looking at new crime statistics, and he and Curry will work on getting more police officers on the payroll.

"He has the priority of public safety, as so do I," Williams said. "The budget is going to have a huge impact on that, obviously, so we need to get in and start digging into those pieces and parts of the budget (and look at) what we can do this year and what we can do next year." 

About the Author: