Jax City Council To Weigh Asking Mayor To Let Them Suggest JEA Board Members

Feb 11, 2020

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry on Tuesday announced seven appointments to the JEA Board of Directors, at the same time that one city council member introduced emergency legislation requesting the mayor to consider candidates suggested by the City Council.

The seven appointees being put forward by Mayor Curry are:

  • John D. Baker, II, executive chairman & CEO, FRP Holdings, Inc.
  • Joseph P. DiSalvo, lieutenant general, U.S. Army (ret.)
  • Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr., president & CEO, Edward Waters College
  • Dr. Leon L. Haley, Jr., CEO, UF Health Jacksonville
  • Marty Lanahan, executive vice president & regional president, Iberia Bank
  • Robert “Bobby” L. Stein, president, The Regency Group
  • Tom VanOsdol, senior vice president, Ascension Healthcare & ministry market executive, Ascension Florida

Related: Entire JEA Board Stepping Down After Voting To Fire Former CEO Zahn With Cause

“These past few weeks I have held numerous conversations with local business and community leaders, elected officials, and City Council members about our municipal utility and the JEA Board of Directors,” said Mayor Curry. “I am grateful for these seven well-respected and community-minded leaders who have answered the call to serve the people of our city on the JEA board. I am confident that they are up to the task of rebuilding public trust and strengthening the future of this vital and valued community asset. My team and I look forward to working with City Council throughout the appointment process.”

Meanwhile, Councilman Garrett Dennis, who often finds himself at odds with Mayor Curry, has filed a resolution (2020-125) asking the Mayor to consider JEA board candidates suggested by the City Council. Mayor Curry was unavailable for an interview, but a spokeswoman told WJCT News that the mayor said he would sign the legislation “if and when it makes it to his desk.”

Related: Hightower: JEA Privatization Attempt ‘Could Be The Greatest Municipal Scandal In The US’

Mayor Curry’s selected board members are expected to go before City Council for approval on Feb. 25. 

Dennis filed his resolution as an emergency move ahead of Tuesday’s meeting and it is on the agenda as an addendum. If the resolution's emergency status is approved by the City Council, members will vote on the resolution during the meeting.

Dennis did not respond to a request for an interview before this story’s deadline.

Related: Proposed Amendment Would Change JEA Board Appointment Procedure

Dennis is also sponsoring another resolution (2020-100), currently making its way through the committee process, that would amend the city charter to allow the City Council to appoint four of the seven-member JEA board. The remaining three would still be chosen by the mayor.

However, if approved, that proposed charter change would require a public referendum and wouldn’t reach the ballot until the November 2020 election.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.