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Jacksonville Councilman Schellenberg Concerned About JEA's CEO Selection Process

Bill Bortzfield
JEA's downtown headquarters building is pictured behind Jacksonville's City Hall.

Some City Council members are raising the alarm about JEA’s process for selecting a new CEO.

Interim CEO Aaron Zahn is perceived to be widely favored, even though he drew lower scores on his leadership abilities than other candidates.

Jacksonville City Councilman Matt Schellenberg said Tuesday on First Coast Connect it’s concerning that qualified candidates to lead the utility are withdrawing their names from consideration.

“Unfortunately I think what you’re seeing now is the people that are in the top four are looking at it and seeing the same concern I have. That the pick is already in, and they’re dropping out.”

Our Florida Times-Union news partner reported Tuesday that CEO finalist candidate Frankie McDermott has dropped out, despite impressing the JEA’s search committee.

Meanwhile, a new bill moving through Jacksonville City Council would change conditions for any future sale of the utility.

This after local voters overwhelmingly approved a straw ballot measure stating the public should have a say in whether JEA is privatized.

The full audio interview with Schellenberg is available on Tuesday’s First Coast Connect.

Melissa Ross can be reached at, 904-358-6382 or on Twitter at @MelissainJax.

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.