Buzz: Pension Reform, JaxPort Woes, Tattoos and More


Pension Reform — Finally

At Jacksonville City Hall, officials were touting an agreement for retirement reform as “historic” and “financially sustainable.” Mayor Alvin Brown announced May 8 that the city had reached an agreement with the city unions that will save $1.1 billion over the next 30 years and save the city about $50 million it would've had to put in the pension fund in October. The agreement, which covers the Fraternal Order of Police, the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters and the Jacksonville Police & Fire Pension Fund, will modify retirement benefits for police and fire employees hired after Oct. 1. Current police and fire employees still pay into the fund and keep their current benefits. A key point states the provisions for selecting administrators to the Police Fire & Pension Fund after current administrator John Keane retires. Future administrators must have five years of pension or institutional investment experience and advanced degrees; retirement system directing experience preferred.


JaxPort Woes

In the words of Lewis Carroll, things are getting “curiouser and curiouser” at JaxPort. The Jacksonville Transportation Board thought it had nailed down a new executive director, but he decided to stay in Miami, so it was back to square one to find a port leader. Then JaxPort board member Reggie Gaffney learned he'd lost his non-paid seat when The Florida Senate failed to confirm his appointment. It never got out of the Senate Committee on Ethics & Elections, which unanimously voted in favor of appointing John Falconetti, president of Drummond Press who's served on Jacksonville Library Board, Jacksonville Aviation Authority and Enterprise Florida. Falconetti was confirmed by the Senate.


Kudos for Spinnaker Digital

The online version of University of North Florida’s student newspaper is a finalist for the Associated Collegiate Press’ 2013 Online Pacemaker Award. This the second time Spinnaker Digital has been a finalist for the honor, often referred to as the Pulitzer Prize of college journalism; it was a finalist in 2009. The Spinnaker’s one of 54 finalists chosen from 277 entries. The winner is announced at the National College Media Convention in New Orleans Oct. 23.


Dr. Biz

Want to impress your friends and amaze your bosses? Jacksonville University is offering a Doctorate in Business Administration starting in fall 2014. JU said it expects an initial class of 12, mostly experienced professionals wanting to add intense research tools and cutting-edge analytics to their portfolios. At full-speed, up to 40 students will be enrolled in the three-year program. For application information, go to, click on the DBA application link.


Tattoos Welcome at Blood Alliance

From now on, your tats won’t prevent you from donating blood at the Blood Alliance in Jacksonville. Blood is now accepted from donors who got their tattoos at licensed facilities in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Recent regulatory changes requiring licensing of establishments and artists in Florida now allow folks to donate blood. Previously, there was a one-year deferral period because of concerns about hepatitis. For details, go to

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