JEA straw poll, board reform bills clear Jacksonville City Council

jea lineman jacksonville

Two bills of note passed by the Jacksonville City Council Tuesday evening. 

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Straw ballot for JEA sale: 2018-141 will prime a straw ballot referendum for November to test the voters’ mood on a JEA sale.

The measure, sponsored by Garrett Dennis and John Crescimbeni (two skeptics of the need to sell), would, in theory, serve as a corrective to an impending sales pitch to sell from many directions.

Crescimbeni noted in committee that the straw ballot is nonbinding and merely gives direction on whether to “participate in that process … weigh in and tell us they’re interested, or they’re not interested.”

A rumor the bill would be pulled from Consent ultimately proved unfounded.

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Board reform: 2018-165, also sponsored by Dennis, will bar an active member of a board from applying for a paid position with the organization controlled by the board.

This bill was drafted after Joe Peppers, a member of the Kids Hope Alliance board who has since stepped down, made a successful play for that organization’s CEO position.

Dennis, one of the council’s most strident opponents of the reforms that brought KHA into being as a replacement for the Children’s Commission and the Jacksonville Journey, saw Peppers as unqualified to be CEO and as someone who is parlaying relationships with the board and Mayor Lenny Curry‘s team into a high-paying job.

Dennis said the bill would foster “transparency and fairness.”

A floor amendment led the bill to be pulled off the consent agenda, per Councilman Al Ferraro, adding relatives, including in-laws, to the ban list.

However, the floor amendment met objections. Multiple Council members said the move would have unintended consequences.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


One comment

  • Seber Newsome III

    April 3, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Why dont Mr. Crescimbeni and Mr. Dennis put the Confederate Monuments on a straw ballot for Novembers with the JEA bill??? Let the voters of Jacksonville decide these issues, is not that, the fair and equitable way of doing things I ask? That way the Mayor and the City Council Members will be off the hook and possibly save their political careers.

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