JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- Action News found emails showing city leaders have a new concern about the new Duval County Courthouse.
It's Jacksonville's $350 million problem. The new county courthouse opened last summer, but after countless delays and dilemmas Action News has uncovered city leaders are now questioning something new: The 911 system. "If someone calls 911 from any place in the building, it doesn't work that well," said City Council President Bill Bishop.
Action News showed Bishop an email we found in the city's public records account about the courthouse 911 system. The problem is when someone calls 911 from inside the building, first responders can't pinpoint exactly where the call was made. In the email, we found Court Administrator Joe Stelma called this, "an issue on emergency need" and said "the public and employees are endangered" by it.
Last week Action News spoke to Stelma who told us they were working on the problem. This week, we found a new email from Stelma saying, "There are other issues that had come to the surface that I do not want in the email. We have been contacted by the media on Friday as they have been reading the city emails."
Stelma wouldn't go on camera but told us, the other issues he mentioned in the email had to do with security. We asked the mayor's office about why important community issues wouldn't be discussed in public emails.
Again, they wouldn't go on camera but sent us this statement. "As you know, Mr. Stelma is a court administrator independent of the city administration. I would refer your question about his email to him as he is the author. The Brown Administration regularly posts email for review by the entire public, as you know from reading that email as you stated. Mayor Brown also created the Office of Public Accountability to ensure robust and responsive open government, and the mayor appointed Alexis Lambert, formerly in the state Attorney General's Office, to head that effort. You should contact her for information about our commitment to open government. Mayor Brown is committed to transparency."
In a building with so many issues, and a spiraling cost, it had us asking, is there something more to hide.
"I don't think it was with a direct intention to hide things since the consequences of someone finding out would be pretty grave," said Bishop.
We're not the only ones who can read the mayor and city council emails. You can too. Just click on the Action button.