Mayor Lenny Curry turns to top political operative as chief of staff

Mayor Lenny Curry named Brian Hughes his chief of employees Wednesday, a transfer that formally installs a key determine in Curry’s political world into the equipment of metropolis authorities.

Hughes, who has been a Tallahassee-based mostly political operative since Curry’s election, was already working as a type of unofficial chief of employees: A standard sight in Metropolis Corridor, oft-advising Curry on a variety of coverage and political points and typically assembly with Metropolis Council members. Curry has been and not using a chief of employees since Might, when Kerri Stewart, a Metropolis Corridor veteran, resigned in Might to take a job as considered one of JEA’s executives.

Hughes has made hundreds of dollars since Curry’s election in consulting charges — paid out of the mayor’s political committee — in addition to having represented shoppers all in favour of operating for Metropolis Council lengthy earlier than the 2019 elections happen. He’s a registered metropolis lobbyist for Buckeye Companions LP, an power distribution firm, and in addition signed as much as work with the Jacksonville Port Authority.

He has remained one among Curry’s closest confidants and has helped push the mayor’s priorities via the Metropolis Council.

A information launch stated Hughes “will fulfill his enterprise and shopper commitments by month’s finish.”

Curry’s spokeswoman didn’t instantly say what Hughes can be paid; Stewart made $one hundred ninety,000 a yr. Curry’s workplace additionally hasn’t clarified whether or not Hughes plans to pursue any future work on political consulting whereas he holds the chief of employees submit.

It’s additionally not clear if Hughes will transfer completely to Jacksonville from Tallahassee.

“To me and dozens of different elected officers, Brian Hughes has been a senior advisor on necessary issues of public coverage and communications,” Curry stated in a written assertion. “Working with me, Brian has already put a strong imprint on our metropolis’s future.

Hughes, who together with Jacksonville-based mostly advisor Tim Baker ran Curry’s hardball political group, has an abrasive type that should mesh with Metropolis Corridor, which is charged with operating a laundry listing of apolitical priorities like street upkeep.

Throughout a stint with Gov. Rick Scott’s workplace as a communications deputy in 2011, Hughes helped oversee a interval of icy relations with the Capitol press corps that included much less entry to Florida’s prime official in favor of extra managed photograph ops and media availabilities.

Jessica Baker, a former advisor with…

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