A Jacksonville Alderman has renewed calls to try to fulfill a campaign promise to residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ward 3 Alderman Brandon Adams who was elected to a 2 -year unexpired term in 2019 wants the City of Jacksonville to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour right now. Adams renewed the effort Monday night during the Jacksonville City Council meeting because he thinks its the best way to thank Jacksonville’s front line, essential workforce. “I’d like to admirably thank all of Jacksonville’s essential service workers for their everyday contributions. They are risking injury to health and possibly worse to provide our community with the resources it needs during this pandemic. One of the best ways to show our appreciation and simultaneously not costing the city one cent would be to pay them a living wage in a two-tiered approach.”
Adams has brought up the minimum wage issue since October 2017 to the council about raising the hourly wage to $15 and made it a central part of his platform during his election to the council. Adams says that the hourly wage should be raised by city ordinance for any business with over 500 employees. Adams consulted with Jacksonville City Attorney Dan Beard prior to Monday night’s meeting. Beard said with the current order of things that it’s something that the whole council should discuss at committee of the whole. “It would seem that this would be an appropriate topic that would involve the entire council rather than a committee meeting. If it was going to go to committee, I would assume Special Studies, but it would be something that the entire council would want to have some input in at the ground level.”
Beard says that he and Adams should have an ordinance possibly by the end of the month. “What I can do, and I don’t anticipate a lot of work with this because there are other ordinances out there for other communities that have looked at something like this, is put something together and Brandon, I’d like your input as I do that, and then maybe distribute it to the council for review over the next 2-4 weeks.”
Adams has received little traction for the idea over the past 3 years with the rest of the council. Adams said after the meeting that he was optimistic under the current circumstances that more people will listen to the idea now that essential workers are risking their health to keep the Jacksonville economy moving as much as possible.