This is a long report because there is a lot at stake. And as the mayor kicks into high-gear for damage control, we can only expect more smoke and mirrors. Today we'll start with just the facts.
- In September of last year, Mike Saylor vacated the Planning Director position for the City of Jacksonville.
- Mayor Peyton then appointed Brad Thoburn (from a political position in his cabinet) to Interim Planning Director until a qualified replacement could be found.
- According to Sec 30.101of the city's Ordinance Code, the position of Planning Director for the City of Jacksonville requires the successful candidate to "have a Masters Degree in Public Administration, Urban Planning or a Related Field or have 10 Years Professional & Admin Experience in a Managerial Capacity, at least 5 of which are in an Urban Planning Agcy or Organization."
- Brad Thoburn received an immediate $8,000 raise as a reward for his temporary assignment.
- Brad Thoburn has no planning experience other than that of the last 3 months as Interim Planning Director.
- Brad Thoburn's degree in Political Science and his experience working on one of Tillie Fowler's political campaigns helped him get hired with the City of Jacksonville in 1998.
- From September of last year, even up until now, never could we find the open position for Planning Director posted on the city's online job database.
- On December 11th of last year, when interviewed by the Jacksonville Business Journal, Peyton said in regards to a search for a new Planning Director that, "We are doing a national search to fill that position." Peyton then went on to hint that he may consider Thoburn for the job though because he is "smart as a whip". But not to be misunderstood, Peyton then ended his response with " We owe the department the chance to see what's out there. Should Brad be chosen, he will be up against the best group of candidates we can find."
- On January 1st of this year (just 3 weeks after his comments to the JBJ), Peyton announced that he was appointing Thoburn as permanent Planning Director.
- When a public records request was submitted to City Hall for any and all information related to other interviewed candidates (other than Thoburn) for the Planning Director position, Susie Wiles, the Mayor's spokesperson wrote us, " No other candidates were interviewed for the position…"
- Because of Thoburn's lack of planning education and experience, Ordinance 2007-0021 was introduced by the Mayor's Office to City Council last night. This ordinance proposes to waive the requirements of Sec 30.101, Ord Code (listed above) in order that Brad Thoburn can be named the permanent Planning Director.
- In seeking to seemingly waive all requirements that require the city's Planning Director to actually have planning experience, Ordinance 2007-0021 also contains wording that proposes to back-date Thoburn's title of permanent Planning Director to October of 2006. If successful, this move would more than likely mean a back-dated pay increase for Thoburn – in addition to the $8,000 increase he was given in October.
- When we spoke to Susie Wiles today and confronted her on Peyton's seeming lie to the public in regards to a search to fill the Planning Director position, she said, "That's certainly one way to look at it…" Wiles then went on to say that Allan Mosley had a say in the decision to not look at any other candidates and she wasn't sure when that decision was made, but that the mayor trusted Mosley's decision.