• Jacksonville City Council 'blindsided' by letters offering JEA directors incentives in event of sale

    By: Russell Colburn , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville City Council members said they were "blindsided" by internal letters sent to JEA directors, offering them incentives to stay on if the utility is sold.

    Action News Jax was the first to tell you about those offers, which have since been rescinded.

    Some council members just found out about the letters at a special meeting Tuesday on the possible sale of JEA. Many of them called the letters "troubling."

    JEA employees and customers -- like Glenda O’Connor -- addressed the council expressing support for JEA.

    “Everybody here who is a voting member owns JEA,” O’Connor said. “How a certain few can decide to sell our assets? I just don’t understand.”

    Councilman Garrett Dennis called Tuesday's meeting. Action News Jax asked him if he believes there has been a lack of transparency shown by JEA and the city.

    “There’s some transparency issues through our city,” Dennis said. “But, this is the first step of [bringing] it to the forefront, bring it to light, what may be going on over there.”

    JEA has an independent firm performing a valuation of the utility's assets at the request of its Board Chairman, Alan Howard. (CLICK HERE TO READ THE DRAFT VALUATION REPORT)

    Last week, Howard told Action News Jax selling JEA is not a foregone conclusion.

    Still, the letters and a perceived lack of transparency has employees worried about their jobs and pensions.

    “The letters came out, the directors were notified about they may not have a job, and if they’re not going to have a job, what about us?  And, also, what about our retirement?” said JEA employee Kenneth Pressley.  

    “I just want to know what’s going on so I can make plans for the future,” he said.

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