JEA's newest board member resigns to vie for interim CEO role

CEO Paul McElroy stepped down earlier this month amid sale discussion

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The newest member of JEA's board of directors has resigned to mount a bid to become the utility's interim CEO.

Aaron Zahn, who was appointed to the board in February, informed the mayor by phone Friday night that he would be stepping down immediately.

READ: Aaron Zahn's letter of resignation

Zahn said in his resignation letter that he intends to pursue the interim CEO position, which runs for one year beginning Tuesday.

His departure leaves two vacancies on the board, which meets Tuesday to discuss what's next for the utility.

CEO Paul McElroy submitted his resignation earlier this month as Jacksonville city leaders continue to weigh a controversial decision to potentially sell the city-owned utility.

Melissa Dykes, the utility's current chief financial officer, is serving as interim CEO until the board decides Tuesday what its next move will be. It could extend her term or choose another interim CEO.

McElroy said is serving as a consultant for the utility.

McElroy had been chief executive of the utility for 5½ years and his existing employment agreement was to end in September. His current salary was $473,000.

The new contract for McElroy would have boosted his base salary to $520,000 and included 3 percent annual increases. 

The new contract also included a clause about the potential for JEA to go private. If McElroy was let go in a sale, he would have collected double his salary as a severance fee.

McElroy, who has lived in Jacksonville for 17 years, said he had been considering his future over the last five months.

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