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As a former consultant to the Board of JEA, I am in shock at their decision yesterday to proclaim two major deals:

— Give the unqualified, friend of the Mayor’s, who was handed this lucrative job a few months ago, a huge raise to more than $520,000 because that’s the going rate of utility CEOs.

— Proclaim he — the newly highest paid executive in Jacksonville’s government — needs to find someone to run the utility because it is in dire need of new leadership to fix their problems.

?????????

I’m not the smartest person in the room but even Forrest Gump could smell a red herring here. Red herring means, “ploy, deception, hoax, trick.”

Are we being tricked?

Will this futile exercise end up with a statement from the board that the utility is in too big of a mess and the only way to fix it will be to sell it?

Will 500+ employees lose their jobs?

Will our JEA rates go higher and higher?

There is so much more to this story. Have deals been made already? Have conversations been done in the dark instead of the sunshine as is required. Who wants to sell JEA and why? What’s in it for them?

And who in heaven’s name would give a CEO a huge raise and tell him to go find someone to run it?

In private business those two deals don’t go together.

Too bad this board decided to run it for political purposes and not like a business. JEA is a business — and it’s the people’s business.

What happened yesterday deserves a full accounting to the people who own it — we the people of North Florida.

This is the beginning of Eye on Jacksonville’s journey into the dark shadows at JEA. More to come.

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

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