Mayor names 7 people he wants on JEA board

Appointment legislation will be introduced at Feb. 25 meeting of City Council.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry on Tuesday announced seven business and community leaders that he wants to appoint to the JEA Board of Directors.

Curry’s announcement comes after the entire JEA board -- except for Kelly Flanagan -- resigned last month amid growing criticism and investigations into the proposed sale of JEA.

“These past few weeks I have held numerous conversations with local business & community leaders, elected officials, and City Council members about our municipal utility and the JEA Board of Directors,” Curry said in a media release. “I am grateful for these seven well-respected and community-minded leaders who have answered the call to serve the people of our city on the JEA board. I am confident that they are up to the task of rebuilding public trust and strengthening the future of this vital and valued community asset. My team and I look forward to working with City Council throughout the appointment process.”

The mayor’s picks – all senior executives with ties to Northeast Florida:

  • John D. Baker, II, executive chairman & CEO, FRP Holdings, Inc.
  • Joseph P. DiSalvo, lieutenant general, U.S. Army (ret.)
  • Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr., president & CEO, Edward Waters College
  • Dr. Leon L. Haley, Jr., CEO, UF Health Jacksonville
  • Marty Lanahan, executive vice president & regional president, Iberia Bank
  • Robert “Bobby” L. Stein, president, The Regency Group
  • Tom VanOsdol, senior vice president, Ascension Healthcare & ministry market executive, Ascension Florida

DiSalvo, was a Maj. General when he “oversaw prisoner of war Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s recovery as the commanding general of the United States Army South,” according to the New York Times. He’s also a principal for two consulting firms based outside of Washington, D.C.

Three Florida financiers are also set to be appointed including Stein who has already served on the JEA board.

City Council members told News4Jax they weren’t expecting the mayor to release a list of names Tuesday, but they are not unhappy with the choices.

“These are some very smart, independent, accomplished Jacksonville citizens, and I commend Mayor Curry for these appointments. I also thank these appointees for their willingness to serve during this difficult time for JEA,“ Councilman Rory Diamond told News4Jax. "It’s the Mayor’s prerogative to make these appointments and he did a great job.“

“I’m very happy with who he’s picked. I give him an A+ on this board,” said Councilman Matt Carlucci. “This is a good group to bring the JEA out of turbulence, so to speak, and back to better times.”

On Tuesday night, there was an effort by City Councilman Garrett Dennis to take back three of the appointments in an emergency resolution. The effort failed.

“It’s unfortunate that a couple more council members didn’t reconsider it,” Dennis said. "They did it really fast -- the vote count I wanted to put it on the ballot so the people in Jacksonville can see who really wants change in JEA.”

Curry said he plans to file legislation with City Council on Wednesday and that legislation will be introduced at the Feb. 25 meeting. All appointees must be vetted and confirmed by City Council.

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