No consensus in City Council over JEA sale

Rift between mayor's office, Jacksonville council members continues

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The rift between the mayor's office and city council members over the potential sale of JEA that boiled over Monday continues to smolder in advance of a Wednesday's meeting to review a report on the subject.

Both sides are saying the other is not truthful about what is happening surrounding the possible sale of the city-owned utility, with more council members joining Council President Anna Lopez Brosche claiming that it's the mayor who is pushing for the sale.

The possible sale is not on the agenda of Tuesday night's City Council meeting, but public comments are expected. This is taking place as Monday's comments Mayor Lenny Curry and Lopez Brosche are still making waves at City Hall.

"I think it’s the mayor’s agenda," Councilman Garrett Dennis said. "I’m probably one of the only people that will say that, but it is definitely the mayor's agenda. And, as the process unveils itself, it will be apparent that the mayor (is) behind the sale of JEA."

Curry directly denied that Monday afternoon, and it’s no secret that Dennis and the mayor don’t see eye -to-eye on many issues.

Curry did push for a special City Council meeting Wednesday to discuss a study of the market value of JEA and the pros and cons of privatizing the utility to the city, but denies he's taking a side on the sale.

"I think the most important thing here for taxpayers to know, for the hard-working people of JEA, (is) that there is a report and we all want to see that report at the same time and we all are to absorb that information at the same time and decide are there next steps or are there not next steps," Curry said.

Dennis isn’t buying that and is siding with council president Anna Lopez Brosche, who has been at odds with the mayor on the issue.

"It just doesn’t feel right. It just doesn’t seem right," Dennis said. "I feel the sentiment of the council president (is) that it’s going too fast without the input of the public."

News4Jax polled all 19 City Council members on the issue Tuesday. Of those who replied by the end of the day, only three had made up their mind on the subject, and those three said they would vote no. Most of the others said they need more information to make up their minds. (Scroll down for what each council member is saying.)

"I think this is a wake-up call for the mayor that he has to work with (Council) and not push his agenda without any opposition," Dennis said.

Dennis and others have suggested a non-binding public vote in a future election. He said he might offer that legislation soon.

News4Jax will be at the 3 p.m. Wednesday meeting called specifically to discuss the potential JEA sale and will provide complete coverage throughout the afternoon.

How the 19 City Council members feel about selling the JEA. 

 District Council member Response    
1Joyce MorganNeeds more info 
2Al FerraroNot available
3Aaron BowmanNot available
4Scott WilsonNeeds more info
5Lori BoyerNeeds more info
6Matt Schellenberg Needs more info
7Reggie GaffneyNot available
8Katrina BrownWould vote no
9Garrett DennisWould vote no
10Reginald BrownWould vote no
11Danny BectonNeeds more info
12Doyle CarterNot available
13Bill GullifordNeeds more info
14Jim LoveNeeds more info
At Large 1  Anna Lopez Brosche   Needs more info
At Large 2John CrescimbeniNeeds more info
At Large 3Tommy HazouriNeeds more info
At Large 4Greg AndersonNot available
At Large 5Samuel NewbyNeeds more info


About the Author: