Jacksonville city councilman calls on CEO of JEA to resign

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville city councilman says the CEO of JEA needs to resign.

Councilman Matt Carlucci wrote a letter calling for Aaron Zahn's resignation amid talks to possibly sell the utility.

Action News Jax's Courtney Cole spoke to the councilman on Monday. He told her this is not a personal attack on the Mayor or JEA, he just wants the best for his city.

He believes that includes keeping public ownership and launching a nationwide search for the very best CEO who can nurture JEA.

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"For me, I believe I'm right and I do what I believe in," said Matt Carlucci, Councilman of At-Large Group four in Jacksonville. That's why Jacksonville Councilman Carlucci typed up a letter last week to calling for Aaron Zahn to resign.

In the letter, Councilman Carlucci sayid Zahn needs to "find a place for his skill sets, but CEO of JEA is not the place."
"He had no experience when he took this job. And I've met with him on several occasions, I've spoken with him on the phone…at first, I thought maybe he's for working towards a public utility -- but that's long since faded," Carlucci told Action News Jax.


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Carlucci told Cole even if the public utility is facing hardship, it can be overcome in ways that do not involve a sale.

City leaders have consulted with another city-owned utility for ideas.

"Once you sell it, it's gone. It's going to be hard to ever get it back," said Carlucci.
Bottom line: Carlucci it's about time to end all the drama, "pull the plug", move on with new leadership and put this same energy into the other issues that Duval County is dealing with.

"Most of the paperwork on my desk has to do with JEA. I'd rather it be about other things, like resilience and downtown development and the food desert issues that we have and taking care of creating more jobs," said Carlucci.

In a statement released by April Green, Chairwoman of the JEA Board of Directors, responded to Carlucci's letter. Here's what she said:

"When JEA's board appointed Aaron Zahn as our managing director and CEO, we placed our full faith and support in his ability to organize a strong senior leadership team to take JEA through a 10 year strategic planning process.  Today I was surprised to hear about Councilman Carlucci's demand for Mr. Zahn's resignation.  As appointed and elected officials we have the duty and responsibility to work collaboratively on the most pressing and complicated issues facing our City. We simply cannot do things the way we have always done them. We have to address the future with open eyes, ears and hearts.  JEA's board has been conducting a very public strategic planning process regarding the future of JEA.  I am pleased the City Council has joined JEA's strategic planning dialogue via Councilman Boylan's professionally stewarded workshops. It is our responsibility to work together on the issues facing JEA.  While the discussions are uncomfortable, they are necessary and require all participants to be open to and thoughtful in our dialogue.  Our Consolidated form of government requires it and our customers deserve it."

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