JEA Customers: You best pay respect to the JEA Board’s decision for our new/old CEO.


In May, I wrote an Open Letter to the JEA Board regarding the Board Chair’s Statement,  “JEA does not have a “documented CEO selection process.”  You can read that letter here:  Open Letter to JEA Board

A couple of mentions about that letter:

  • It was the most read article at Eye on Jacksonville and is still being read today – months later – through our social media sharing.
  • We asked for a response to our questions and we NEVER received those answers.  Very sad and disrespectful.

After months of interviewing numerous candidates and hiring a search firm to recruit candidates for JEA’s CEO position, we ended up with the same results.  No change in leadership.  Just a change in the bottomline for the dollars spent on this nationwide CEO search.

Interim CEO, Aaron Zahn, was named permanent CEO of JEA this afternoon by the JEA board.  Each board member personally scored and interviewed each candidate and then they voted unanimously for Zahn.

The Board Chair, Alan Howard, went on defense about their decision and said “any accusation that there is a predetermined outcome” is disrespectful to the board and the candidates.

Disrespectful to the board?  I guess disrespecting a request for answers to questions from a heart-felt open letter to JEA doesn’t count in the column of respect.

Well then, okie dokie, Mr. Howard.  We’ll just go about our merry way and not disrespect the board and the candidates.  And…might we remind you of one thing — “You work for the rate payers of Duval County and if the rate payers have anything to say about the matter, please respect them and their questions. It’s your duty.  JEA is owned by the residents of Duval County.  That makes you accountable to them.”

Since the long process is now over, Mr. Howard and Mr. Zahn want to bring the community together and move forward.  They do not want to focus on this decision now that it is made.  It’s old news.  Move along now.

As a reminder to those who pay JEA each month:

You, as the rate payers and the owners of JEA, have a responsibility to hold the JEA Board to the highest standards of accountability and transparency and the promise that no corruption or cronyism occurs on their watch. 

That’s how we all move forward and candidly, it’s the only way to move forward.

Note to Mr. Zahn:  We send a WINK and Congratulations to you.  You have just been handed one of the largest municipal utilities in the country to run and you have no background running one.  That scares us and should scare you.  You have a big job to fill and we wish you the best!  Our rates depend on you doing a great job and keeping them low.  Our hard earned dollars are in your hands.  Be wise, sir, be wise.


Billie Tucker


[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Billie Tucker has worked in the CEO world for more than 30 years and was the Chief Operating Officer of Vistage Florida, a think tank for CEOs. She started her own consulting practice, CEO Service Bureau, in 2001 and earned a reputation for her keen understanding of the motivations, challenges and goals of people and became a life-long student and teacher of leadership principles. She craved anything leadership related and enjoyed being around the world of entrepreneurial CEOs. She watched as they made decisions; pondered how they would make payroll when cash flow was tight; and appreciated how they created career opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people. Because of her experiences, she has emerged as a key resource for the media and others who want to understand important insights about executives, management teams and board dynamics. In 2008, Billie became discouraged as she watched some of her clients struggle with the political economic impacts on their businesses. The same CEOs who mortgaged their home and charged up their credit cards to make ends meet to build a business and keep others working, now watched as their government bailed out the big banks who had mismanaged their resources. She cringed as most of her clients laid off employees for the first time and she vowed she would help them… somehow…someway. That somehow…someway showed up in the Tea Party Movement in America. She formed one of the largest tea party group’s in America (more than 9,000 members strong) and helped bring attention to America’s debt problem, out of control spending, over taxation and regulation strangulation on companies. With her background in working with leaders and her influence in the political and leadership world, Billie has continued her dream to help CEOs navigate these troubling waters that permeate the world of capitalism in America. She has been an active participant in the media as a guest on CNN, Fox News, Fox Business, Bott Family Network Radio and co-hosts a political/financial radio show in the Northeast Florida market entitled, Smart Money. She was the first speaker at the House of Representatives Tea Party Caucus inaugural event and was invited by Heritage Foundation to speak at their prestigious annual Heritage Resource Bank, and on their National Security Panel live broadcasts. She spoke at the Congressional Republican House Retreat in Pennsylvania in 2012. She was also the co-host and co-producer of the CNN Tea Party Express Debate in the 2012 Presidential Election. She is a firm believer that America needs more entrepreneurs and more opportunities for people to use their God-given talents and passions to better themselves, their communities and America. Her favorite quote has become her mission to help CEOs succeed: “Vision without execution is hallucination.” – Thomas Edison[/author_info] [/author]




Billie Tucker Volpe

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


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