JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The increasingly public feud between Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and City Council President Anna Brosche took yet another turn this week when Brosche accused the mayor's office of spying on her through her assistant's computer.
"I am just connecting the dots," the council president said Friday in an interview during which she detailed her suspicions, citing an anecdote in which her assistant was unable to log off because someone else was logged in.
Brosche won't put anything past the mayor's staff. The pair have repeatedly clashed over the fate of the JEA. In February, Brosche snubbed Curry at a special council meeting he called. That was a day after her assistant filed a complaint against his chief of staff, alleging a hostile work environment.
The accusation triggered a pointed response from the administration with Chief of Staff Brian Hughes issuing a statement that characterized Brosche's remarks as another unfounded charge in a series of baseless, politically-motivated allegations.
"Once again, the Council President and her staff have made false and wholly unfounded claims about the administration. So let's be clear, no one in the mayor's administration, at any level, has 'monitored' or followed any council member or staff," said Hughes. "Similarly there has never been any surreptitious, intentional or unintentional interference or monitoring of any electronic devices of members of their staff."
The accusation led Chief Administrative Officer Sam Mousa to have information technology staff to review past login activity on the computer. The review found three accounts, aside from the assistant's, accessed the device since last September.
Two of those entries came last fall from accounts belonging to Brosche and Councilman Garrett Dennis. A third entry was made in February by an account belonging to city information technology staffer Steve Cassada.
"Steve Cassada is the City Council's IT guru and I do not find it unusual that he would have logged into the computer. However, Ms. Brosche and Mr. Garrett Dennis also had log-in activity," Mousa stated in an email forwarding the findings to Hughes.
Brosche, who has not ruled out a potential mayoral run, isn't convinced. She pointed out that the administration could still keep tabs on the computer without actually logging in.
As for Hughes, he said her accusation "demonstrates a willingness by her and her staff to simple lie in order to score points in some twisted political game."