Council on Elder Affairs, COEA, is an organization with the singular mission of advocacy for seniors and the elderly. By City Ordinance, COEA is charged to “plan, evaluate, advocate, and promote programs and public policies that maximize opportunities of self-sufficiency and personal independence for the elder citizens of Jacksonville Duval County”

COEA does not provide services or operate programs. We are strictly advocates. The Council On Edler Affairs is comprised of 19 members, five appointed by the Mayor and one each by the 14 City Council Members. They serve a two-year term and can be reappointed for a second two-year term.

Council members must be 55 years of age or older.

20th Annual Senior of the Year Awards brochure

Current Members

  • Carol D’Onofrio – Chair – CD 11
  • Rosemary Thorman – Vice Chair, CD 10
  • Pat Vail – CD 1
  • John Roberts – CD 2
  • Vanessa Swindell – CD 4
  • Jacquelyn Nash – CD 9
  • Marcelle Bessman – CD 13
  • Carrence Bass – Executive Director


  • Eileen Roddem
  • Donald Ingram
  • Nick Palmeri – Candidate CD 6
  • Andrew Westhoff – Candidate At Large 2
  • Jon Meux – Candidate At Large 3

Meeting Schedule

The Council On Elder Affairs meets monthly on the fourth Wednesday at 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at City Hall, 117 W. Duval St. 32202, 1st Floor, Lynwood Roberts Conference Room. Requests for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should be made to the Disabled Services Division two to three business days prior to the meeting at (904) 255-5466 or email The public is encouraged to attend. Please contact the office prior to the day of the meeting to confirm time and location as changes can occur from time to time.

The following dates are the Council on Elder Affairs scheduled meetings for the 2019 year:

  • No December Meeting due to Holidays
  • July 24, 2019
  • August 28, 2019
  • September 25, 2019
  • October 23, 2019
  • November – TBD
  • December – TBD
  • January 22, 2020

Be sure to check out our Tales Of Gold section for interviews from the Council On Elder Affairs! With COEA in full swing, we plan on keeping a close tab on any future legislative changes that can directly affect our senior citizens in a positive or negative way. It’s great to know such a part of our local government exists to be a voice for seniors!