JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The News4Jax I-TEAM found out just how much time ousted JEA CEO Aaron Zahn was spending at City Hall.
According to Zahn’s keycard, he has swiped into city hall at least 170 times in the last year and a half. It’s still not clear what he was doing there.
A statement received Saturday from Zahn reads:
“City hall contains the general counsel’s office, 19 city council members and the mayors office. During the last two years, JEA negotiated a contribution extension, had substantial legislation on a number of topics, passed two budgets and was responsive to council inquiries and workshops. The number of times I visited city hall demonstrates my focus on transparency and communication with all of Jacksonville’s policy makers.”
City Councilmember Matt Carlucci told News4Jax the volume of time Zahn was spending at City Hall is unprecedented.
“It’s highly unusual for the CEO of any of our independent authorities visiting city hall or the mayor’s office that many times in a year, five years," Carlucci said in a statement. "That’s an inordinate amount of times for someone leading independent authority. In my opinion over the many years I have been in the city government, it’s totally unprecedented.”
According to the City Charter, JEA is independent to keep politics out of how the agency is run.
The JEA Board is set to meet on Tuesday and is expected to make a decision on Zahn who has been in limbo since the board voted Dec. 17 for his removal and placed him on paid leave. JEA’s board has been weighing whether his employment should be terminated without cause or for cause – the difference between him walking away with severance pay or mostly empty-handed.