JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Lately it seems no one in the city can get along. Last week, Finance Chairman John Crescimbeni yelled at the mayor’s administration to “stop playing stupid, silly games.”
This week, the Sheriff threatened to sue the city saying the mayor’s office was participating in “ridiculous bad gamesmanship.”
Some council members have called this one of the most contentious budget cycles in Jacksonville history, and money seems to be the root of all evil.
"As the pie shrinks and the pressure gets put on, you're going to see friction between departments,” said Councilman Stephen Joost pointing to rising pension costs as one of the biggest problems.
Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford is now facing potentially $5 million in cuts to his budget because the city says he overexceeded his worker’s comp claims. But Rutherford isn’t buying it. He’s threatening litigation, meaning more tax dollars are potentially on the line.
To see what’s being done about this feud, Action News went to the man who oversees that department, Twane Duckworth, Jacksonville’s Chief of Risk Management.
When we asked him what’s being done internally to smooth things over he said, “What we have done as an administration has been very purposeful in working with the council auditor’s office and working with the city council to make sure that we do have a good working relationship.”
But what about the Sheriff’s Office? And what about communication as a whole?
"These are stressful economic times, as everyone knows, and in light of that situation you might have some friction now and then, but I believe the city as a whole is working pretty well together,” said Duckworth.
No surprise here, other city leaders disagree.
"Could communication be improved at the city level,” Action News asked Joost.
“Oh, no question, no question communication could be better,” Joost replied.
The Finance Committee is scheduled to meet Friday morning at 8:30.