Will Randy DeFoor become Jacksonville’s next general counsel?

It will be the first test of how Jacksonville’s new Democratic Mayor and Republican City Council are going to get along.

Randy DeFoor is Mayor Deegan’s pick to become Jacksonville’s next general counsel. But it’s DeFoor’s former role as a city council member that might be the problem.

There is a state rule that says once you leave the City Council you must wait two years before you can lobby the City Council.

Some believe that could be part of DeFoor’s new job as the city’s top lawyer.

Before Randy DeFoor can become the city’s General Counsel, she will need City Council approval. Some are saying it’s pure politics that could get in the way of Deegan’s appointment — even though DeFoor is a Republican.

The Republican-controlled council is raising the issue and is expected to vote Tuesday to ask the state if it could be allowed.

The role of the general counsel involves a lot in representing many agencies in Jacksonville. But right now Mayor Deegan’s choice of Randy DeFoor for that job is being questioned.

News4JAX asked Randy DeFoor what the most difficult part of her job would be.

“Well, you know, the best part of being general counsel is, I am not a policymaker anymore,” Defoor said. “So that is not my role. That’s not my role anymore. That’s his role. That’s not mine. Mine is being an attorney and representing each one of my clients to the best of my ability.”

The “him” DeFoor was referring to is city council president Ron Salem and Tuesday, the council is expected to vote to ask the state ethics commission if DeFoor can serve now instead of waiting two years.

Melissa Ross — speaking on behalf of the mayor — said they will also ask the state the same question.

“Randy Defoor is not limited in her role to serve as general counsel,” Ross said. “At the same time to bring final clarity to this matter, the Mayor’s Office has requested an opinion from the state Ethics Commission.”

News4JAX asked Political Analyst Rick Mullaney of JU’s Public Policy Institute — who also served as the city’s general council — to break it down for us. He believes DeFoor can legally do the job.

“She represents the City Council and the consolidated government,” Rick Mullaney, News4jax Political Analyst, said. “She’s not a lobbyist. She’s not a policymaker, she’s legal counsel. So for those reasons, that’s my opinion. On the other hand, there are those who are concerned that you need clarity from the state Ethics Commission, and it’s understandable that they could possibly come to a different conclusion.”

On Wednesday, Deegan will hold a news conference where other former city general counsels will speak out in favor of DeFoor, some saying this is the first test of how Deegan and this city council will get along.

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