Politics

Lawsuit Filed Over Police & Fire Pension Fund

Lawsuit Filed Over Police & Fire Pension Fund

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A lawsuit claims the City of Jacksonville is in violation of Florida's Sunshine laws.

The suit, filed by the Concerned Taxpayers of Duval County claims that both the city and the Police and Fire Pension Fund held collective bargaining talks in secret, negotiating retirement benefits on behalf of the Fund illegally for ten years.

City Attorney Steve Rohan responded, "It's a remarkable lawsuit.
We respect the concerned taxpayers and appreciate their interest in local government. As soon as we get a copy of the lawsuit we'll address it. We're sorry that we have to be in litigation with them."

TO VIEW THE LAWSUIT CLICK HERE

Transportation Cuts for 5,000 DCPS Students in the Works

Transportation Cuts for 5,000 DCPS Students in the Works

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Within four years, Duval County Public Schools are considering cutting transportation to all secondary Magnet schools.

Parents of the first 5,000 students affected say it's not fair to working parents.

One of those parents is single mom, Charlene West.

"He's a good student because I made sure he went to good schools that were going to teach him," West says of her son, A.J. Mitchell. "I, as a parent, did my part by making sure he did his homework and learned what he was supposed to learn."

Every day after school, Mitchell rides the bus home from Stanton.

While he waits for his single mother Charlene West to get home from work, he does the dishes and his homework.

Stanton is one of the seven Magnet schools potentially losing transportation.

According to a letter sent home with students, James Weldon Johnson, Landon, Darnell-Cookman, Kirby Smith, Lavilla, and Paxon are also on the list.

Residents, Lawmakers Sound Off About Bill Requiring Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients

Residents, Lawmakers Sound Off About Bill Requiring Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  Governor Rick Scott signed a bill Tuesday that will require people who receive government assistance to take a drug test in order to receive benefits.

"The goal of this is to make sure the taxpayers aren't paying for someone to take illegal drugs," Scott said.

The law requires every person who applies for the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program to pay for the drug test. If the test comes back negative, then the state will pick up the cost. If it's positive, the person loses benefits for one year.

"In some ways I think it's a good thing," agreed 36-year-old Jacksonville resident Casandra Greene.

Greene depends on public assistance to feed her eight children. She said she understands some people abuse the system and she hopes the law will make them think twice.

But Greene thinks it's too bad those people have to hurt parents like her who are trying to do right by their kids.

Scott Approval Rate Hits New Low

Scott Approval Rate Hits New Low

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott's approval rating has dropped to a new low, although he's been on the job for less than five months.

A poll released Wednesday shows Florida voters disapproved of the way Scott's been doing that job by a 57 percent to 29 percent margin.

The Quinnipiac University poll, though, shows the Republican governor has plenty of company. Voters rated the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature about the same. They disapproved of lawmakers' work 56 percent to 27 percent.

Scott and the Legislature each are down from 35 percent approval ratings they got in a similar poll released April 6. Pollsters called 1,196 registered voters on cell and land lines May 17 through 23. The poll has an error rate of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

SJC Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Carol Saviak as new Government Relations Manager

SJC Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Carol Saviak as new Government Relations Manager

The St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce announces the addition of Carol Saviak, Government Relations Manager, to its staff. In this newly crafted Government Relations Manager position, Saviak will have two primary areas of focus: business advocacy and economic development. She will work closely with the Economic Development Council in establishing both the State and Local legislatives agendas and subsequently, serve as our advocate for the business community. She will also assist the Vice President of Economic Development in implementation of the tactics focused on increasing employment totals, average wages and commercial tax base within St. Johns County.

State Takes Action Against Companies Soliciting Fake Energy Audits

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announced today the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has filed suit against Unlimited Energy Solutions, Inc., and nine individuals for violation of the Florida Telephone Solicitation Statute. The lawsuit was filed as a result of an investigation of numerous complaints received by the Department in regard to potentially illegal sales calls.

Wednesday Marks 125th Anniversary of Vote to Fund Jacksonville Fire Department

Wednesday Marks 125th Anniversary of Vote to Fund Jacksonville Fire Department

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Wednesday marks the 125th anniversary of the Jacksonville City Council's vote to create a paid fire department, according to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.

Several fires destroyed the downtown area a few months prior to the vote, according to a timeline on the Jacksonville Fire Museum's Website.  Three volunteer firefighters were injured and a fourth was killed while trying to fight that blaze.

The website indicates that the men did not know how to use the city's new fire engine.

Months later, on July 15, 1886, the Jacksonville Fire Department became a fully paid professional department.

If you'd like to learn more about the history of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department click here or visit the fire museum, located at 1406 Gator Bowl Boulevard.