This Week in the 904: Jacksonville City Councilman Rory Diamond introducing ‘Jax Heroes Act’

After 8 months deployed in the Middle East while Hamas attacked Israel, Jacksonville City Councilman Rory Diamond is back and bringing a new proposal with him. It’s called the Jax Heroes Act and it would give city employees more paid time off while they’re deployed.

“I was out in Saudi Arabia, literally living in the dirt with a whole bunch of infantry, men and women. And you know, these are like, 26-year-old, 25-year-old kids, and they’ve got kids at home and families at home. And they’re making $20,000 a year trying to keep two families going,” Diamond said.


Diamond got back from an 8-month deployment last week. Captain Diamond is a JAG officer for the Army and the Florida National Guard. He sat down with Action News Jax’s John Bachman Tuesday for the latest episode of This Week in the 904. The Jax Heroes Act would extend paid leave for all city employees who get deployed, from 30 days to 90 days. However, it goes even further than that.

“And then the second thing it does, which is first in the nation, no one’s ever done this new thing, which is called eight hours of flex time for a spouse of someone who’s deployed, who’s one of our employees. So if your husband or wife is off deployed, and you work for us, you’re gonna get eight hours a month to just go do the things that you need to do to take care of your family,” Diamond said.

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Bachman asked, “We had the sheriff in to talk about how the need to recruit officers is very large, and they struggle to get enough quality candidates. Do you think this will have an impact on that?”

Diamond responded, “There’s no doubt, right? So recruiting and retention, especially with JFRD (Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department) and JSO (Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office) is hard right now there’s lots of competition. But if we can say, ‘Hey, you’re reservist, your Navy, reservists, Army National Guard, you’re spouse of someone who has come work with us, and we are going to be the best in the country taking care of you.’ And that’s a great message. Right? Everybody wins?”

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There is one other aspect to Diamond’s Jax Heroes Act. It would clear the way for council members to do what he did -- deploy to serve his country. He said Council President Ron Salem was great, but to eliminate potential political clashes, he is putting it in writing with his proposal.

Diamond and Bachman covered a lot of other topics, including ethics reform from Tallahassee. You can watch the full interview this Sunday on This Week in the 904. It airs at 4:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. on CBS47 and 10 a.m. on FOX30.

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