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City councilman wants JEA board to stop privatization talks

Carlucci says city could be sued if council stops ITN process

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville City Council member is calling on the JEA Board of Directors to end the invitation to negotiate, or ITN, process to find potential suitors to purchase all or part of the city-owned utility.

On Saturday evening, City Councilman Matt Carlucci issued a statement, warning the utility company’s board to stop the ITN process or else the city could be sued if the City Council stops it.

“If JEA board ends this process to privatization and or recapitalization they are immune to lawsuits from the bidders per the ITN contractural agreement,” he said, in part. “However, if the JEA board of directors passes this ITN on to the Jacksonville City Council, if we the Council stop the process we are opening our city to serious lawsuits as the ITN contact does not exempt the council.”

Carlucci said he plans on attending the next JEA meeting, which is scheduled for Jan. 28, and bringing this up during public comment.

“There’s a growing chorus of people in Jacksonville calling to end the sales process, which is what this ITN is, and start over again, and one of the keys is going to be what happens at the next board meeting at JEA,” said News4Jax political analyst Rick Mullaney. “I think what Mr. Carlucci is talking about is potential litigation concerns and I think that’s getting ahead of ourselves a little bit. What you saw with (City Councilwoman) Brenda Priestly Jackson, she filed a resolution calling upon the board -- the board at JEA -- to end the sales process. That’ll be also heard in early January. So I think some of the legal issues can be addressed separately. But for now, what’s really emerging is a growing consensus or at least a growing movement among council members, the Civic Council, the Florida Times-Union, community leaders that are calling upon the JEA board to end the current sales process and to start all over.”

Below are Carlucci’s full comments:

“It is hugely important that the JEA board end the ITN process at their next meeting or at a special called meeting. If JEA board ends this process to privatization and or recapitalization they are immune to lawsuits from the bidders per the ITN contractural agreement! (See below) This confirmed by General Counsel Jason Gabriel.

"However, if the JEA board of directors passes this ITN on to the Jacksonville City Council, if we the Council stop the process we are opening our city to serious lawsuits as the ITN contact does not exempt the council.

"The JEA board at their next meeting is at a serious crossroads. They can take the road of making one of the biggest and most embarrassing mistakes in our consolidated Government if they pass this to the council.

"Or if they take the road to pulling the plug, stopping the process, this will be an important step in protecting our city and citizens and a breath of fresh air towards good government will sweep across our hometown.”

“I will attend the next JEA meeting and speak during public comment on this.”


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