• Action News Jax Investigates: JEA braces for possible sale

    By: Russell Colburn , Action News Jax

    Updated:

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    The possible sale of JEA has customers worried about their utility bills and employees worried about their jobs.

    Action News Jax has uncovered an internal JEA letter that shows management warned employees about a possible upheaval.

    JEA employs nearly 2,000 people.

    Action News Jax sources said that, right now, many are worried about their future with the utility.

    While the employees are on the front line serving the community in times of need, their jobs could be on the line.

    Sources close to the situation told Action News Jax that, ahead of the utility possibly being sold, JEA's top brass is trying to prevent a mass exodus.

    An internal JEA letter sent to employees in leadership positions asks for their "continued employment" during a "possible acquisition or change of control," offering them an "incentive of up to (one times their) annual base salary."

    On Tuesday, JEA customers had one question on their minds: If someone else takes over, what will that mean for my bill?

    “I worry about it now,” said JEA customer Arnold Spencer. “What can you do?”

    After talks of privatization in a November JEA Board meeting, the chairman of JEA’s board of directors, Alan Howard, sent a letter to JEA’s managing director and CEO, Paul McElroy, in early December. 

    Howard asked for JEA to hire a firm for a business valuation to weigh the effects that privatization would have on the community.

    Howard wanted it done in the next 60 to 90 days.

    Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry supported the action, telling Action News Jax, “As a reform-minded mayor, I welcome this challenge and will work with City Council leadership to answer these questions.”

    JEA would not grant an on-camera interview for this story.

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