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City Council Panel Investigating JEA Expects To Hold First Meeting This Week

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

Jacksonville City Council President Scott Wilson has created a special three-person committee to investigate every aspect of the now cancelled sale of JEA.

Council members Rory Diamond, Brenda Priestly Jackson and Randy DeFoor are serving on the committee.

Diamond, who is serving as chair, told WJCT News Tuesday there are many questions that need to be answered: “You know, why did we find ourselves in a process where we were essentially putting JEA up for sale? And why do we have $10 million worth of contracts related to that process? That's money that we may never see again.”

He wants to get to the bottom of a proposed performance bonus plan that could have netted top JEA executives tens-of-millions of dollars if the public utility were sold.

Diamond expects the panel to hold its first meeting later this week after the city's Office of General Counsel wraps up its investigation into whether fired JEA CEO Aaron Zahn should be fired with or without cause.

If he is fired without cause, he could walk away with an estimated $842,000 golden parachute, according to The Florida Times-Union.

JEA's management team released a statement saying it supports the investigation, writing, "We appreciate City Council President Wilson’s decision to move forward with the investigation and JEA looks forward to working side-by-side with him and his colleagues to provide any and all information pertinent to their review."

JEA said interim CEO Melissa Dykes will add a discussion item to the JEA Board meeting agenda for Tuesday, January 28, that will seek to ensure that any future conversation concerning structural changes in the operations of JEA which require legislative consideration, are done in cooperation with the City Council and community. 

Dykes will also be holding town hall meetings in every City Council district in the coming weeks, according to JEA spokeswoman Gina Kyle.

- WJCT's Bill Bortzfield contributed to this report.

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