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Councilman: Former JEA CEO Zahn should get nothing after termination

JEA CEO Aaron Zahn was terminated in December

The golden parachute for ousted JEA CEO Aaron Zahn could be hitting a snag; Zahn is set to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars after the JEA Board of Directors voted him out last month. At least one Jacksonville City Council member disagrees.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The golden parachute for ousted JEA CEO Aaron Zahn could be hitting a snag.

Zahn is set to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars after the JEA Board of Directors voted him out last month. At least one Jacksonville City Council member disagrees.

“I don’t think he should get any severance pay,” Councilman Matt Carlucci told News4Jax.

Carlucci has been one of the City Council members demanding changes at JEA and is pushing for a grand jury investigation into the now-defunct sales talks and employee bonus plan. He believes Zahn should be terminated with cause.

“I’m a businessman, not an attorney," Carlucci said. “Terminate with cause and he doesn’t get paid a nickel from there. But you get a room full of attorneys and you don’t know what they’re going to come up with.”

Zahn is still on paid administrative leave. That began after the Dec. 17 JEA board meeting in which board chairman April Green wanted Zahn gone for good without extra compensation.

The board decided to allow attorneys to investigate and see if a deal could be reached. On Tuesday, the board is expected to discuss if Zahn should be fired with cause, which means he may get nothing, or fired without cause where he could take home over $450,000, which includes a portion of his salary and a month of consulting services.

News4Jax reached out to Zahn though his attorney and have not heard back. Last month, his attorney J. Jacobs Peek told us he would have no comment on the investigation.

News4Jax also reached out to State Attorney Melissa Nelson again to see what type of investigation her office is conducting and if a grand jury will get involved. Her staff said she is standing by her previous statement saying they are only looking into JEA and can’t comment.

Councilman Carlucci is planning to meet with Nelson about that on Thursday. Carlucci said he favors that type of investigation over the planned City Council panel which might be called to look into the same problems.

“Grand juries, although they meet in secret, they are public,” he said. “The utility is owned by the ratepayers, the public, so I trust that format and I also trust our State Attorney in the investigation she is conducting.”

Carlucci added that he wants to get a feel for where the State Attorney is at and where she is going.

There is no word yet from the City Council President Scott Wilson about that special council committee. Earlier this week Wilson said he is meeting with the general counsel office to work out the details.


About the Author:

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