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Eye on Jacksonville wasn’t created to ONLY focus on JEA. In fact, JEA wasn’t on our radar at the time we started Eye. But…since we start in early 2018, JEA has become one of our biggest stories and it just keeps getting bigger.

If you want to catch up with all the stories we have written about JEA, please go to our website – https://eyeonjacksonville.com/ and search “JEA”. It’s good reporting and candidly I took a special interest in JEA because at one time I was a consultant to the JEA Board and hired to facilitate the development of their Board Governance Policies. It was a great board and they had one thing in common —

What was best for the ratepayers of Jacksonville

Their board meetings were held in a small room with low ceilings, no windows and an open concept. They had to look ratepayers in the eye as they sat side by side each other in a straight line with a simple table to work from. Their audience was the ratepayers and they had to face them.

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Recently I noticed the environment for the JEA board meetings had changed. I’m not sure when it changed or how long the board has been meeting in this room with the bright sun light shining in the room from atop the building, but it spoke to me. It said, “Look at us sitting at this big round table with a huge space between us and them. Look at how impressive we look. Look at each other and focus on us and the agenda we have before us. Don’t look at those ratepayers…they are a distraction.”

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Call me crazy for noticing something so small and maybe the reasons were of best intentions — but — my impression is this..

It created an atmosphere of a Corporate Boardroom and not a Board in service to our community.

Who wouldn’t want to have this prestigious notation on their resume, “JEA Board Member” and a picture of them sitting at a table like this. It’s pretty cool and sends a message of power and influence.

But is that the feeling we want our JEA Board members to feel? And should the service on this board be one for serving or one for self-serving?

A note to our friends and followers of Eye on Jacksonville, you have voiced your opinion numerous times about JEA’s fast track to a sale: 1) when you voted in the affirmative you wanted a say in the sale of JEA and 2) recently when UNF polled the residents and they said NO to a sale.

Many other experts, community and civic leaders have also expressed their concern on how JEA is handling this potential sale.

Maybe the JEA Board members need a wake up call. Or maybe they should move back downstairs to the room, without a view, at a smaller table between the ratepayers and them and where they can face those they serve and hear from them. It might put the whole issue back on the “table” and help them visualize this as a community service position and not a Corporate Board notation on their resume.

You, my friends, DO have a seat at the table. Never forget that and remind them — they work for you and so does the Mayor, the City Council and others with influence over your every day lives.

We will do our part at Eye and will continue to remind them – on your behalf — of that responsibility too.

We appreciate you and thank you for the support you have shown us since the beginning of Eye on Jacksonville. We are growing in numbers and followers and your heart-felt comments on our postings keep us going!

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Billie Tucker Volpe Founder of Eye on Jacksonville and Leadership Consultant to CEOs/Executives

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