JEA’s chief compliance officer is retiring after 46 years

Utility announces retirement of Ted Hobson effective Feb. 28

Hobson (WJXT 2020)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Another day, another high-profile departure from JEA.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the city-owned utility released a statement announcing that Vice President & Chief Compliance Officer Ted Hobson is retiring after 46 years of service. His retirement is effective Feb. 28.

“Ted first announced plans for a 2020 retirement several months ago and, as such, he and his family decided that now is the right time for him to pursue and address other opportunities in his life,” the statement said.

Hobson’s retirement comes during a period of upheaval for JEA, which has seen other high-level executives resign or be fired amid growing scrutiny over efforts to sell the utility — and a controversial bonus plan that could have paid out extravagant sums in the event of a sale.

JEA’s board of directors voted Dec. 17 to remove then-CEO Aaron Zahn while city attorneys determine whether he can be fired for cause. JEA’s top legal adviser, Lynne Rhode, resigned days later after meeting with the General Counsel’s Office. Chief Financial Officer Ryan Wannemacher was fired one week later. And Sherry Hall, JEA’s vice president and chief governmental affairs officer, gave her notice around the same time.

In response to public outcry, the board formally shelved an Invitation To Negotiate (ITN) Dec. 24, after spending months looking for suitors interested in buying or running all or part of the city-owned utility.

As chief compliance officer for the past eight years, Hobson has overseen the utility’s compliance and regulatory programs, audit services, physical security, emergency planning and risk management. Before that, he oversaw line work and substation maintenance, among other responsibilities, as director of energy delivery.

Hobson was a member of JEA’s senior leadership team, which received contracts that would have awarded them significant severance packages if they were fired, and even more if the utility were sold. According to the Florida Times-Union, he will not be eligible to receive that payout because it does not apply to retirements.

“Ted’s impact will remain with JEA for years to come and he will be missed,” the JEA statement said. “JEA thanks Ted for his tireless service and steadfast leadership.”