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Jacksonville City Council turns up heat on General Counsel Cindy Laquidara

3:35 PM, Jun 18, 2013   |    comments
Cindy Laquidara
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- City council members are turning up the heat, questioning how the city's chief attorney, Cindy Laquidara, is handling her job.

In a morning meeting at city hall, council members discussed their frustrations, with some suggesting Laquidara should step aside.

"It needs to be, as intended, an independent position," said Bill Gulliford, upcoming city council president.

Council members expressed their displeasure with the work of Laquidara, citing her interpretation of the Jacksonville Jaguars' stadium lease a year ago. That ended with the General Counsel sending an apology to the team.

Other issues focused on the direction that city took in handling its sports/entertainment contract that was handled by the Mayor's office. The city council believed it should have some input, but was rebuffed by the General Counsel's office.

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Upcoming pension reform legislation also has some council members questioning the position of Laquidara since she helped craft the proposed deal for the administration.

"I would like to put it to bed or move forward with it," said Councilman Matt Schellenberg, who drafted legislation promoting a change in the General Counsel's office.

Laquidara, who has been the city's chief attorney since 2010, could not be reached by First Coast News for comment. An email said she would be out of town and not in the office Tuesday afternoon.

Mayor Alvin Brown in a statement last week expressed his confidence in Laquidara:

"Cindy Laquidara has three decades of legal experience, including substantial time in private practice and more than fifteen years with the Office of General Counsel. She is board certified in local government law. Her peers have previously honored her as the Jacksonville Lawyer of the Year and the Jacksonville Woman Lawyer of the Year. Given her qualifications, legal skills and high standing in the legal community, it is little wonder that Florida Trend has once again named Cindy Laquidara as one of our state's top government attorneys.
"Since 2010, Cindy has ably served the City of Jacksonville - executive branch, legislative branch, constitutional offices, and independent authorities - as General Counsel. I look forward to her continued service as the consolidated government's chief attorney."

The way the Jacksonville city charter is written, the mayor appoints the city's chief attorney with the city council having a role in approving the appointment.   

First Coast News

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