Mayor signs economic development plan

Plan streamlines process to make Jacksonville more competitive

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Mayor Alvin Brown signs his economic development legislation.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Mayor Alvin Brown's plan to streamline city job-creating functions by transforming the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission into an executive-run Office of Economic Development is now official.

Brown signed his economic development legislation Thursday morning while commending City Council for the unanimous vote on Tuesday in backing the mayor's plan.

"This is more than policy and it's more than structure," Brown said. "It's the unanimous opinion of our elected City Council to do what's right for the taxpayers. It's the conversation-starter with business leaders wondering where to expand or relocate. And it's a solution for the nearly 38,000 people in our city who remain out of work and deserve a chance to rebuild themselves."

The Office of Economic Development replaces the JEDC's commissioner system of oversight with a chief economic development officer who will be appointed by the mayor and approved by the council to serve the public in a day-to-day executive capacity under a mission to make Jacksonville more competitive.

Current JEDC employees will be folded into the Office of Economic Development, which will carry on with traditional economic development duties such as incentive negotiation and enterprise zone management while also managing the city's efforts to attract sports, entertainment and special events. The office also will provide oversight to the Office of Public-Private Partnerships, the Jacksonville Film and Television Office and the Equal Business Opportunity Office.

Brown's plan to restructure JEDC went to City Council after first gaining state-level approval. Both Houses of the Florida Legislature gave unanimous approval before Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill granting the mayor the authority to move forward.

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