Jacksonville, FL (March 15, 2018) Procedural issues stymied progress at the March 15, 2018 meeting of the Special Committee on the Potential Sale of the JEA. The decision to place all those speaking before the committee under oath led to two primary witnesses declining to take an oath of honesty concerning their testimony before the committee.
Sam Mousa, the city’s CAO and Paul McElroy JEA’s CEO both declined to be administered an oath. Neither spoke to the committee.
General Council Jason Gabriel had warned the committee that requiring an oath would hamper the questioning process. Answers would most likely be guarded and prolonged as witnesses would most likely turn to an attorney for advice before answering.
As a result of declining to take an oath, the committee voted 5-0 to issue a subpoena to McElroy to appear before the committee on March 29. He’ll be asked about the potential sale of JEA and to answer questions about the authorization of the PFM consultant report that was presented on Feb. 14 to the entire city council. He’ll also be prepared to give information about JEA charitable giving and employee volunteerism over the last five years.
District 11 City Council Member Danny Becton told the committee that he thought while a subpoena was appropriate for McElroy, one wasn’t needed for Mousa as the information that he was to give did not rise to that level.
Peggy Sidman, COJ Office of General Counsel, explained the subpoena process saying that subpoenas had to be specific as to what subjects would be addressed. It was also explained that under subpoena the council could ask for existing documents but could not require that new documents be created.
In other action, a subcommittee was formed that included Council President Anna Brosche and Council Member Becton to develop the scope of services and qualifications for the proposed utility expert to assist the Special Committee understand technical testimony. A member of the Jessie DuPont Fund, which has offered to fund this position, will also attend the meeting. The noticed meeting was set for March 19.