In The News
Northeast Florida Business Briefs - June 2005
ARCHER -- The City Commission fired its second city manager in a year, claiming Scott Lippmann "wasn't a good fit." After the vote, some commissioners said conflicts between board members were more to blame for the failure to retain city staff.
CLAY COUNTY -- The School Board will likely try again to persuade voters to raise the local option sales tax by a half-cent to pay for district-related improvements. Officials say the district must raise an estimated $500 million over the next 20 years to keep up with anticipated growth. A similar ballot measure was soundly defeated two years ago.
O'Connor Development Corp. has bought virtually all of the remaining commercial property in Eagle Harbor (83 acres). It plans to build a hotel, shopping center, office buildings and restaurant.
FERNANDINA BEACH -- Former Mayor Joe Gerrity defeated incumbent Greg Roland for a seat on the City Commission. Newcomer Bill Leeper, a Florida Highway Patrol lieutenant, won a three-way contest for a second seat.
GAINESVILLE -- The City Commission's Public Safety Committee rejected a proposal to allow bars to remain open until 3 a.m. -- an hour longer than currently allowed.
JACKSONVILLE -- The ongoing incentives scandal involving the troubled Shipyards development has led the City Council auditor to recommend widespread changes in the way the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission doles out public funds to private developers. Proposed restrictions include making the general counsel responsible for drafting and overseeing all redevelopment agreements, forcing the City Council to vote on any substantial project changes, and requiring regular progress reports be filed with the JEDC.
The Army will pay Armor Holdings (NYSE-AH) $31.1 million to add armor to various types of heavy trucks. Work will be done at Armor's plant in Phoenix.
The city's longtime chief of public buildings, Bill Watson, was arrested and charged with taking payoffs from a janitorial service. Watson, a former mayoral candidate, allegedly received monthly payments of $1,000 to $2,000 to protect the company's contract.
The Port Authority sacked eight executives as part of an administrative restructuring that will save the agency some $800,000. Among those losing their jobs were several marketing managers, a manager of port security and a director of labor relations.
A federal judge refused to strike down a Washington, D.C., law that effectively prohibits CSX Transportation trains from transporting hazardous materials through the city. CSX sued the city in February after D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams signed a law banning the transport of "ultrahazardous materials" within 2.2 miles of the U.S. Capitol.
Gov. Jeb Bush appointed attorney Susan McDonald to replace real estate executive Linda Sherrer on the board of the Jacksonville Airport Authority.
The Manufacturing Innovation Partnership has opened at the University of North Florida with a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Armor Holdings, Predator Products and The Ronco Group are the business research center's first clients.
Mayor John Peyton is searching for ways to close a projected $750-million deficit in The Better Jacksonville Plan's road-improvement budget. Possible solutions include canceling numerous projects, extending a local option gas tax and asking state taxpayers to pay for some of the work.
A jury ruled that Baptist Medical Center must pay a 46-year-old Jacksonville woman $1.55 million for permanent leg damage she suffered following a hysterectomy.
St. Vincent's Health System Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey K. Norman resigned after just two years on the job. Norman is moving to Phoenix to become executive vice president of Scottsdale Healthcare System.
Robert M. Rhodes, former executive vice president and general counsel for St. Joe Co., has joined Foley and Lardner as of counsel in the firm's Jacksonville office.