JEA committee extends CEO's $330K contract, adds bonus eligibility

Jacksonville-owned utility launches incentive program for employees

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – JEA wants to retain employees by continuing to offer bonuses and increasing incentives.

That goes for everyone -- all the way to the top of Jacksonville's city-owned utility.

A committee discussing employee salaries and compensation decided Tuesday that new CEO Aaron Zahn should be eligible for a bonus like other JEA employees.

That would be on top of the $330,000 annual salary and $2,000 in business expenses already in Zahn's contract, which was extended through April. He also gets a take home car.

“A lot was made about my capabilities and my experience,” Zahn said of criticism lobbied at him when he was chosen as the new CEO without having previous experience with a utility. “The reality is any successful CEO will only be successful if all 2,000 employees are driving results and value for JEA and our customers.”

JEA's full board will take up Zahn's contract next week and is expected to approve it.

Employee salaries make up around $133 million each year in JEA's budget. On top of that $5 million goes for bonuses and incentives for the utility's more than 2,000 employees.

JEA is introducing a new program for employees called the 5 to 5 Innovation Incentive Program. The program will reward employees who submit ideas that make the utility more profitable and productive.

Employees can earn between $500 and $5,000 depending on how much their idea affects the bottom line.

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