Deegan administration searching for new Chief of Staff

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayor Donna Deegan is searching for a new Chief of Staff after the administration announced Pat McCullough would be exploring other roles in city government on Friday.


In a statement, the mayor’s office indicated McCullough is, “considering how she wants to serve next”.

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McCullough’s Chief of Staff job came with a $230,000 a year salary.

UNF political science professor Dr. Michael Binder noted it’s fairly unusual for a mayor to make a change in the Chief of Staff position this early into an administration.

“There was no indication that she was kind of a short-term plan, and she was only here for the transition. So, it’s hard to know exactly what was going on behind the scenes, but I wouldn’t consider this common by any stretch,” said Binder.

Sources indicated McCullough’s issues may have stemmed from her presentation of the mayor’s budget not being well received back in August.

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During that presentation McCullough accidentally introduced herself as Chief of Staff of Deegan’s campaign.

“Oh my God, I said campaign. Ya’ll know we run a campaign all the time, right? Regardless of what it is,” McCullough said correcting her mistake.

McCullough, a retired Marine Sergeant, did previously serve as Deegan’s campaign manager during the mayor’s race.

Binder argued while it’s not unusual for campaign officials to make it into an administration, the jobs can be quite different.

“The assumption is that she was pushed out, but it’s entirely plausible that she didn’t like the day to day of running city government. That’s a different mine field than running a campaign or even serving in the military certainly,” said Binder.

Binder added it’ll be important for Mayor Deegan to get a new Chief of Staff quickly, but more important than that, she needs to find the right person for the job.

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“They’re the ones that people can go to for questions day to day because they mayor is out doing 800 other things and that person is often seen as the voice of the mayor,” said Binder.

Staff with the mayor’s office emphasized that McCullough did not resign, nor was she fired.

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Staff also told Action News Jax we should hear more on this in the next few days.

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