Downtown Vision Inc. will take a mulligan on hiring a new executive director in response to criticism that the organization didn’t make the decision in a public meeting, although it’s unlikely it will choose a different person for the job.
Last week, the organization, which promotes downtown improvements paid for with taxpayer money, announced Jacob Gordon, a non-profit executive from the Philadelphia area, as its new executive director.
Although the organization’s search committee interviewed the finalists for the job in a series of public meetings, the actual decision to hire Gordon wasn’t made in a public meeting.
In response to suggestions that the decision may have violated the state’s Sunshine Law, the organization’s board of directors will formally vote on hiring a new executive director at a public meeting held on April 21, said Debbie Buckland, chairwoman of the board.
“We are fully committed to complying with the spirit and the letter of the Sunshine Law,” Buckland said. “If there’s a contention of suspicion at all that we didn’t comply, we’re going to cure it immediately.”
Despite the re-do, Buckland said it’s unlikely the board won’t choose Gordon.
“I would really be surprised if we come up with another conclusion,” Buckland said. “He was a stand out, in my opinion.”
Downtown Vision must follow the state’s Sunshine Law requiring governmental bodies to conduct business in meetings open to the public, said George Gabel, a media attorney who represents the Times-Union. Downtown Vision was created by the City Council in 2000 to oversee the downtown Jacksonville Business Improvement district, which is funded by a tax on commercial property in a 90-block area.
The new executive director will make $115,000 a year, Buckland said.
Original article here.