Data Targeting, Inc., a Gainesville firm that worked to elect Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, conducted a focus group study in late February asking participants whether they support selling municipal utility JEA.

Mathew105601 / Wikimedia Commons

For the first time since taking on JEA’s Interim CEO position earlier this week, Aaron Zahn felt the fire of a skeptical panel of city council members.

For a couple of hours he fielded questions ranging from the tense and awkward to the polite, but pointed.

Wednesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski regarding the JEA Board of Directors hiring Aaron Zahn as interim CEO (01:10).

Local attorney Wayne Hogan told us about April being national Distracted Driving Awareness Month (28:15).

Hope McMath from Yellow House talked about a new project at the house called Voices Unearthed (38:39).

WJXT anchor Melanie Lawson told us about next week’s She is Fierce! Spring event (46:00).

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

In his first press conference since becoming JEA’s interim CEO, Aaron Zahn recapitulated his immediate goals for the nation’s eighth largest municipal utility, and the short list doesn’t include continuing a debate about potential privatization. Yet Zahn wouldn’t say how long the privatization “pause” would last.



Instead of going with a proven utilities professional with years of experience at JEA, the electric and sewer company’s board decided Tuesday to appoint a short-term former board member as the interim CEO.

The move follows CEO Paul Paul McElroy’s April 6 resignation.

The board approved former board member Aaron Zahn to be the interim CEO, while allowing current interim Melissa Dykes to serve in some other governing capacity.

Zahn shocked some observers when he resigned from the board after less than two full months to seek JEA’s top spot Friday.

Peter Haden

A Jacksonville City Council Committee approved a plan to free up a million dollars to help with failing septic tanks in the Northwest area of Jacksonville.

JEA Board Member Resigns, Seeks Jacksonville Utility’s Interim CEO Job

Apr 16, 2018
Via the Daily Record

JEA board member Aaron Zahn wants to become JEA’s interim CEO while the utility searches for a permanent replacement for the role vacated April 6 by Paul McElroy.

Friday on First Coast Connect our weekly Media Roundtable featured Florida Times-Union reporter David Bauerlein, WJCT contributor Fred Matthews, Daily Record reporter David Cawton and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk (01:03).  

We spoke with Jennifer Harrison with the Amelia Island Museum of History about the upcoming Cottages and Courtyards tour. (46:00).

The Daily Record

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


President of Professional Employees Association (PEA) Randy Hilton, and the president of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Valerie Gutierrez  (IBEW) spoke out against the idea of selling JEA on Wednesday’s First Coast Connect.

Wednesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with JEA employee unions leaders Randy Hilton, President of the local Professional Employees Association and Valerie Gutierrez, President of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2358 about their opposition to a possible sale of the utility (01:01).  

In our latest Going Green segment we spoke with Groundwork Jacksonville CEO Kay Ehas about the proposed Emerald Necklace (29:58).

Donna Fenchel, the owner of several local Orangetheory Fitness franchises and Flagler College’s Leslie Gordon talked to us about an upcoming fundraiser for Volunteers in Medicine (38:30).

We heard about how the Jacksonville Public Library is commemorating National Library Week from Assistant Director of Community Relations Chris Boivin (46:00).        

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

How can Jacksonville elected officials make it easier for their constituents to be part of the governing process? That’s the question a new transparency committee started trying to answer Tuesday.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Monday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Jacksonville City Councilman Tommy Hazouri (01:25).

April marks Child Abuse Prevention Month. New CEO of Daniel Kids Lesley Wells (36:19) addressed the topic.

Cole Pepper brought us the latest sports news including the winner of The Masters Patrick Reed (46:00).    



JEA CEO Paul McElroy is stepping down amid growing debate over whether the city should privatize the municipal utility company. He didn’t cite the controversy as a reason for his resignation, though — instead, he cited wanting to spend more time with his family and the need for organizations to evolve over time.

Friday on First Coast Connect  our weekly Media Roundtable featured David Bauerlein from the Florida Times-Union, WJCT business analyst John Burr, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth and First Coast Connect producer Kevin Meerschaert (01:06).

We spoke with Generation W founder Donna Orender and guest speaker Shelley Diamond about next week’s big Gen W conference (46:00).