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Duval County Courthouse Furniture Fight Spells Victory for Chief Judge Donald Moran

5:25 AM, May 9, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --"We don't like to use the F word, F like furniture," said Jacksonville City Council member Greg Anderson.

It's the newest argument in an alphabet of problems with the new courthouse, which is set to open in 10 days.

Chief Judge Donald Moran argued just how big a problem at Tuesday night's city council meeting.

"Is this an emergency? I would say yes, it absolutely is," said Moran.

The Council debated an emergency bill about courthouse furniture for almost two hours Tuesday, finally voting to approve $750,000 to furnish hearing rooms on the seventh floor.

And while the bill went through, it wasn't without some serious digs at the process of getting it there.

"This is a bloated, useless project. I am embarrassed that it has gotten this far," said council member Bill Bishop.

Many of the council members questioned why Mayor Alvin Brown's Administration didn't get this cleared up sooner.

In an effort to save money, the Mayor's office suggested moving old furniture from the current courthouse to the new one.

The administration's CFO, Ronnie Belton, told the council it would save the city more than a million dollars.

"We have enough furniture to fill that courthouse. We have spent $5 million on brand new furniture," said Belton.

But the Chief Judge argued the old furniture was moldy and dilapidated, unusable in the new courthouse.

Ultimately City Council agreed.

The money is already in the budget for the courthouse, but will now be designated specifically for the furniture, spelling out a victory for the Chief Judge.

"I am glad it's finally over," said Moran.

The City now has 14 days to get the money in place for the furniture.




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