JEA abandons plan to give employees performance bonuses

Among those with questions about the future of JEA as the city-owned utility explores selling itself to a private company are its employees.

The JEA’s board had proposed keeping employees from jumping ship during the process by offering a long-term performance-plan-bonus -- a retention bonus of sorts -- for staying during the transition.

On Friday, JEA’s top management announced that plan has been postponed.

In a statement, JEA said the decision was not made lightly. It was determined that now is not the right time to implement the plan because it could have implications on JEA’s strategic planning process. In other words, it could interfere with a potential sale.

Mayor Lenny Curry spoke earlier this week about changes at JEA, including his appointment of a new board member. The mayor said that despite the public perception, the sale is not a done deal.

"The most important part of all of this, if it gets to City Council and my desk and if it moves on from there: It cannot go nowhere without a vote of the people So the people of Jacksonville will get the ultimate say in the future of JEA,” Curry said.

JEA also responded to a report by Jacksonville Civic Council questioning the utility’s report of a dire financial future and its rush to fund a buyer by early next year.

During a hearing on the future of JEA this week the council said it has not received documents from the utility. The chairman of the Civic Council, Tim Cost, said the organization of business leaders is not in favor of the sale and that JEA is not in a death spiral.

In a letter to Cost, JEA officials said they have supplied all of the information to the council and has been working with them for over a year.

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Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.