Jacksonville City Council pushes back hard against JEA sales pitch … – Florida Politics (blog)
In what has been the roughest week in the tenure of Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, his administration pushed forth on Wednesday, to a skeptical City Council and a more skeptical overflow crowd, a controversial report outlining the benefits of the sale of the local public utility.
Profits could be up to $6 billion, the report said. But for City Council members, there was a desire to put the brakes on before moving as quickly as the study would suggest is optimal to make the biggest profit.
With JEA brass saying there would be no move without a “commitment from the community,” what was clear was the Council did not want to commit.
That lack of commitment was underscored toward the end of the meeting. When asked to stand up if they opposed the sale, the entire audience did so as one.
The valuation study from “Public Financial Management” was pushed out in draft form last week, and it suggested that this is the best time ever for Jacksonville to unload all or part of its public utility.
JEA Board Chair Alan Howard had requested a City Council meeting. He was rebuffed by Council President Anna Brosche, who nonetheless had to preside over the meeting anyway when Curry called a conclave.
The halcyon days of Curry and Brosche cheerleading the Jaguars during Friday pep rallies in Council chambers are gone, lost in a phalanx of claims and counterclaims, character assassinations that included the Mayor calling the Council President a liar when she said Curry wanted an authorization to explore a sale in Wednesday’s meeting (then tweeting out a quote from “On War” by Clausewitz) followed by Brosche’s assistant saying Curry’s chief of staff “accosted” her, creating a hostile work environment.
The charter change that would allow all