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Jacksonville City Council won’t tell JEA who its next CEO should be

The Jacksonville City Council on Tuesday backed a committee vote and stopped a resolution drafted last week that would expressly discourage interim JEA CEO Aaron Zahn from applying for the permanent position.

The vote was 4-10 against the resolution, with sponsor Garrett Dennis, Council President Anna Brosche, and Councilmembers Joyce Morgan and Reggie Gaffney the sole no votes.

The bill went down 1-6  last week in a vote of the Rules Committee, a harbinger of this predictable fate.

But the show went on.

On Tuesday, Dennis contrasted Zahn with the “excellence” personified by COO Melissa Dykes, by way of selling his bill.

Councilman Al Ferraro said “everybody should have the right to run,” offering opposition to Dennis’ position.

Both men were rehearsing positions expressed in committee.

Zahn expressed interest in the permanent JEA CEO role in a previous interview with Florida Politics.

At Tuesday’s committee meeting, Council President Anna Brosche, a Republican, wondered if JEA had acted “independently” when the board set up the joint meeting Feb. 14 between the City Council and the JEA Board, a meeting in which Brosche has charged the Mayor’s Office with attempting to push through an emergency bill exploring a sale of the utility.

Brosche vowed to ask that question again next Tuesday at the full Council meeting.

That question wasn’t asked in floor debate, however.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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