City wants to keep you better informed about entities like JEA

No sudden restructuring moves without approval from Jacksonville's city council: that's the next resolution council members agreed to work on Tuesday night, encouraging the JEA Board to come to them first.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville City Council began building a plan Tuesday night to thwart any future recapitalization moves by agencies with city ties, like JEA, without a series of checks and balances.

During a meeting, the City Council laid down groundwork that would better keep the public informed about JEA or any independent agency.

“It’s pretty clear that everyone around this dais wants to do some reform to make sure nothing like what’s happened in the last six months happens again,” said Councilman Rory Diamond during the evening City Council meeting.

Diamond said the council agreed to focus on three things:

  • Investigate what happened during talks of a potential sale
  • Get rid of golden parachutes -- the agreements made if JEA were sold
  • Work on reforms like making sure city auditors review any recapitalization plan

“Today I introduced legislation requiring every independent agency, every board and commission to respond to our council auditors within 48 hours,” Diamond said.

RELATED: Interim JEA CEO welcomes federal investigation | Attorney: Ex-CEO Zahn ‘scapegoated’ for JEA’s woes

It appears the city’s ethics director is already attacking the “golden parachute” issue, asking in a letter to JEA’s interim CEO Melissa Dykes that the entire JEA executive staff go back to its original “agreed upon salary with regular employee benefits."

That means giving up the extras put in place during JEA sale discussions including their $850 allowance and their business allowance ranging between $750 to $1,600 per month. It also forfeits their termination pay of 20 weeks with benefits and their post-employment, three to six month consulting contracts.

JEA’s next board meeting is set for Jan. 28. Diamond said in light of all that’s happened, JEA’s board need to undergo a restructuring.

About the Author:

Joy Purdy co-anchors the 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts with Tarik Minor and the 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts with Kent Justice.