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First Coast

Mayor Curry, Former Mayor Godbold At Odds Over Potential JEA Sale

(left) Abukar Adan/WJCT News, (right) Leadership Jacksonville
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry (left) and an undated historical photo of former Mayor Jake Godbold.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and former Mayor Jake Godbold exchanged strong words about the potential sale of JEA during Monday’s City Council public workshop on the potential sale of JEA.

Curry bemoaned JEA’s 50-year-old business model as “unsustainable” and promised to oppose any effort to stop the negotiations that are underway with private utilities interested in buying JEA.

Related: JEA Replaces Negotiating Team Following Conflict Of Interest Concerns Over Potential Sale

“Because of baseless conspiracy theories and unprecedented, negative onslaught from a small segment of the media and because the conversation is simply difficult to have, the future of JEA evokes many emotions and poses challenges. But we must rise to meet our duty to be good stewards of this community and not simply play games with our heads in the sand.”

And in the other corner. Godbold told City Council members he had the opportunity to sell JEA back in the ‘80s when he was in charge — and didn’t. 

“Do your duty and just put a good manager over there—not to tear it apart but to build it and grow it and keep it. I wish all of you and me were loved as much as our JEA.”

Godbold also took out a full-page ad opposing privatization in today’s Monday’s Florida Times-Union. For more on that, see the second half of this story.

Video Stream of Monday's City Council JEA Workshop Meeting

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter at @cydwjctnews.