Last night, Jacksonville City Councilmember Matt Carlucci circulated an email urging Brian Hughes to resign. Hughes is Mayor Lenny Curry's longtime political strategist and current chief administrative officer.
Carlucci began with his personal observations of Hughes' confrontational style (which he also noted in our December 25 feature story). "[Hughes'] presence in City Hall, in my opinion, based on my experience, has been an impediment to our city moving forward," Carlucci wrote, "and this has lead to the worst governmental environment and chemistry that I have ever witnessed or experienced in my public service career." Hughes’ name may not be familiar to the general public, but any insider can attest to Carlucci’s experience.
Carlucci then went on to lament the erosion of public trust that has taken place in recent months: "Our city cannot move forward because so many of our community leaders and citizens have become distrustful and tiresome of our city government. A mayor cannot be an effective leader with a chief of staff who is not collaborative and cannot be relied upon to build honest and forthright relationships. There is a cloud of bad government over Jacksonville at this historic moment and time. This is my opinion as a citizen and councilmember of my beloved hometown, and believe and know it not only reflects my views, but the views of so many who want the best for Jacksonville. Our citizens deserve better. We deserve excellence."
All of this is, of course, correct. Hughes needs to go. But, in Folio’s opinion, his boss is equally responsible for the repeated breaches of public trust that Carlucci rues. We understand Carlucci must work with the mayor—we don't—and we hope that Hughes, as controversial and creepy as he is, does not become a scapegoat for the entire administration, which many suspect is corrupt from top to bottom.