Q: By way of introduction, as the new City Council member for District 6, can you let us know a bit about your background?
A: I grew up in Ohio and have a bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University as well as a masters in telecommunications from Kent State. I moved to South Florida for a position as director in public broadcasting at a station in Miami. I’ve been married to my wife, Susan, for 44 years and have two grown children and two grandchildren.
Q: How did you come to live in Mandarin?
A: We moved to Jacksonville and settled in Mandarin in 1999 when I accepted the position of president and CEO of WJCT Public Broadcasting. I retired in January 2018.
Q: What or who helped make your decision to run for City Council?
A: During my tenure at WJCT, I was actively involved with community organizations and had a familiarity with city government. I served on the boards of Leadership Jacksonville, JCCI and OneJax and really came to appreciate the role that the nonprofit sector plays in the quality of life in Jacksonville. My goal upon my retirement from WJCT was to stay relevant and continue to serve the communityy My friend Hugh Greene (former CEO of Baptist Health) put the bug in my ear about running for City Council. In a great expression of his confidence in me, he offered to serve as my campaign treasurer.
Also, a colleague once told me, “If you’re just chasing money, you’re already too late. You need to try to impact policy.” This resonated with me and I kicked off my campaign about the time I retired from WJCT. I still serve on the boards of several nonprofits and I hope to strengthen the role of the nonprofit sector in our city’s quality of life.
Q: What are your goals for Mandarin?
A: On the campaign trail, one thing I learned about Mandarin is that it replicates, in a lot of ways, the City of Jacksonville: both are large and spread out, diverse in terms of property and, while we don’t have a river running through Mandarin, we do have a road, San Jose Boulevard, that in a lot of ways divides the community.
My main goal for Mandarin is to try to find a way to become cohesive with our identity. Look at San Marco and Springfield. What defines Mandarin as a community? Is it trees? Parks? We need to create an identity. Quality of life is a big part of that. I have grandchildren in Mandarin and I’m very familiar with our parks. We need to take good care of these resources. I’m pleased that County Dock is finally under construction and that there is a kayak launch coming to Mandarin Park.
Q: What are your committee assignments on the City Council?
A: When I was elected in March, I hit the ground running even before taking office in July. I attended many meetings to familiarize myself. I presently serve as vice chair of the LUZ (Land Use and Zoning) Committee because managing the growth of Mandarin is a priority. I also serve on the Rules Committee, as liaison for the Downtown Investment Authority and for the Cultural Arts Council. I am committed full time to being Mandarin’s councilmember and I have no other political aspirations beyond this office.
Q: Have you announced any legislation yet?
A: I’m going to introduce a bill in the coming weeks to rename Flynn Park “Walter Anderson Memorial Park,” after lifelong Mandarin resident Walter Anderson, who bought the two acres of land many years ago and opened this park for young black boys to play baseball.
Q: What is the best way for our readers to contact you?
A: I intend to continue former Councilmember Schellenberg’s tradition of hosting Town Hall meetings. The first one will be held on Monday, Sept. 16 at the South Mandarin Library from 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Community members can also email me at MBoylan@coj.net or call (904) 255-5206.