Retiring UNF President And Former Mayor John Delaney Could Enter JEA Sale Debate

Apr 13, 2018

When former Mayor John Delaney joins Rogers Towers and The Fiorentino Group on June 1, he could be stepping into the JEA sale debate.

Emera Inc., the owner of Tampa Electric Co., also known as TECO Energy, engaged The Fiorentino Group and Southern Strategy Group, also a government relations firm, to represent it on issues.

It also engaged the Rogers Towers law firm to represent it on the legal side, according to our Daily Record news partner.

The city Office of Ethics Lobbyist Tracking System lists members of The Fiorentino Group and Southern Strategy as lobbyists for Emera and for Teco. The system shows Emera as a client of Rogers Towers.

Marty Fiorentino, president of The  Fiorentino Group, said Emera hired the firms to monitor what is happening with JEA, the city utility that is being analyzed for sale.

Asked if Delaney will be working on that, Fiorentino said: “I hope so.”

Delaney declined to say if he’ll lobby on behalf of Emera or TECO. 

“I still have to get in the firm and see where they want to use me,” Delaney said. 

“If Marty and Fred want to see me involved in it, then we’ll do what we need to do then,” he said of Fiorentino and Rogers Towers Managing Director Fred Franklin Jr. 

Delaney is joining the firms after serving as University of North Florida president for the last 15 years. He will become a shareholder of Rogers Towers and a principal with The Fiorentino Group.

He said he will have a flexible role, “obviously, working on city and state government issues,” but he also could find himself in the courtroom as a defense attorney.  

“I was at the State Attorney’s Office for 10 years as a litigator, so we’re going to see what develops,” he said. 

Delaney said he could become involved in the debate over privatizing JEA, although “it’s probably a little premature to say just yet.” 

“We’ve discussed it,” he said. 

Fiorentino said his group represented TECO for several years locally, and when it was bought by Emera, “they asked if we would get involved in monitoring what is going on with the JEA.”

“Along with a lot of other companies, they certainly are interested in what is going on in Jacksonville, especially with their acquisition of TECO,” Fiorentino said.

He said the acquisition “has been very successful.”

Fiorentino said the alliance of his group and Rogers Towers can be a resource as the JEA situation is reviewed and analyzed at City Hall and that the group has a good relationship with the mayor, his office and City Council. 

You can read a longer version of this story on the Daily Record’s website.

Daily Record Editor Karen Brune Mathis contributed to this report

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