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JEA Fires Its Senior Team In Aftermath Of Failed Sale

JEA's Downtown Jacksonville headquarters building is pictured.
JEA's Downtown Jacksonville headquarters building is pictured.

Eight members of JEA’s senior leadership team are being fired. The question now is whether they’ll be eligible for the severance packages included in their contracts.

Interim CEO Paul McElroy said Tuesday morning that they will be on 30-days of paid administrative leave,  pending termination.

“We’re working with the office of General Counsel to interview these folks between now and the 30-days and we’ll make a final determination as to whether there’s a for-cause or without-cause release,” McElroy said.

In the meantime, McElroy has named eight replacements who, he says, can step into their leadership roles without missing a beat.

“I think we’ve got a great team to go forward on an interim basis. Operationally these individuals have all the skilled knowledge and experience to carry the ball forward. And really, at this point in time, it’s a clean break—we’re trying to make a clean break with the past.”

Those fired without cause will collect their severance — a for cause determination sends them out the door without a payout.

Effective immediately the following JEA employees are placed on administrative leave: 

·       Caren Anders, VP/GM Energy Systems

·       Deryle Calhoun, VP/GM Water/Wastewater Systems

·       Shawn Eads, Chief Information Officer

·       Jon Kendrick, VP/Chief Human Resource Officer

·       John McCarthy, VP/Chief Supply Chain Officer

·       Steve McInall, VP/Chief Energy & Water/Wastewater Planning Officer

·       Paul Steinbrecher, VP/Chief Environmental Officer

·       Kerri Stewart, VP/Chief Customer Officer

The following people will now join the Senior Leadership Team as Interim:

·       Stephen Datz, Interim Chief Information Officer

·       Bruce Dugan, Interim Chief Communication Officer

·       Ricky Erixton, Interim General Manager, Electric Systems

·       Angie Hiers, Interim Chief Human Resource Officer

·       Alan McElroy, Interim Chief Supply Chain Officer

·       Hai Vu, Interim General Manager, Water/Wastewater Systems

·       Wayne Young, Chief Environmental Officer

In other changes, JEA said Interim Chief Financial Officer Joe Orfano will be redirecting his efforts to lead JEA’s treasury team. Brian Roche will serve as JEA's Interim Chief Financial Officer.

That transition will go into effect on June 22, 2020. Until then, Orfano will continue to serve as Interim CFO.

Last week, JEA filed a lawsuit against its ousted CEO Aaron Zahn, who led a failed attempt to sell the public utility. The suit contends Zahn has no grounds to ask an arbitrator to award him nearly $1 million from his tensure, according to WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union, citing "the damage he has caused to JEA."

- WJCT's Bill Bortzfield contributed to this report.

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

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.