The Jacksonville City Council voted this week to specifically itemize the cost of the mayor’s security detail in the budget, a change from the previous practice of having the expense be part of the larger Sheriff’s Office budget.


City Councilman Bill Gulliford, who filed the legislation, said it will make it easier to track that expense, and he wants to see if there are less costly alternatives.

“In the times of tight budgets, I think that’s an egregious number, frankly,” he said Thursday.

Chris Hand, chief of staff for Mayor Alvin Brown, said it’s fine to create a line item for the cost, but the city shouldn’t cut back the security given to the mayor.

The city has a longstanding practice of assigning police officers to the Mayor’s Office. Both Brown and former Mayor John Peyton had two police officers working on their security details.

“As long as this is simply a matter of transparency and not an attempt to reduce the mayor’s security, then we have no problem with making this accounting change,” Hand said.

The bill passed Tuesday by City Council puts the cost of the security detail at $330,000 annually to cover the personnel costs for two Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office officers plus overtime expenses.

The Mayor’s Office determines the schedules for the officers. The legislation would create a line item in the Sheriff’s Office budget to account for the cost of the security, according to a legislative summary attached to the bill.

“Are there less expensive alternatives?” Gulliford said. “This gives us an opportunity to see.” (904) 359-4581 (904) 359-4272