JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The head of the JEA board said Monday it’s time to hit the “restart button” and step back from all the controversy that has hit JEA over the last 90 days.
JEA Board of Directors Chair April Green made the comments to a Jacksonville City Council committee looking into the future of the sale. Also in the room, many people who are questioning JEA’s approach.
Following the meeting, Green tried to clarify her comments.
“I don’t think that’s possible [to restart everything], but what I’d like to do is go back and discuss that with the board,” Green told News4Jax. Green declined to answer further questions but said she would answer more questions after the board meeting next week.
There were 16 City Council members in the meeting Monday and some of them had questions as well. Green’s comments already have some wondering what’s next from JEA which had private meetings in Atlanta with potential buyers.
“Whatever strategic outcome is presented, as the Board Chair (and granted I am one vote) I will only support a plan going forward that will protect the ratepayers and the employees and was crafted in an open and transparent manner while also following all legal and ethical standards – both real and perceived,” Green said in the meeting.
There was a lot of distrust of JEA from City Council members. Some are complaining that JEA is jumping right into a sale without looking at other options.
And then there were Green’s comments. She was referring to talks of resignations of CEO Aaron Zahn and concerns over a lucrative bonus program for JEA employees and the fact that City Council members could vote soon to ask JEA to pull the whole idea of sales talks.
After making her statements, News4Jax was told Green was not going to take any additional questions.
Other Council members had concerns as well, particularly when it comes to the possible sale and the talks currently underway know as the ITN.
“I was surprised by that and if that’s true I hope they and they really do believe in a restart. In my opinion, they are to terminate this ITN process today,” City Council member Randy DeFoor said.
“I think it’s a wise idea to step back a little bit and hopefully with the new year we will see a fresh approach to this process,” City Council member Michael Boylan said.
At City Council on Tuesday, the idea of killing the talks all together could be discussed and possibly voted on.