What to do? What to do?

Mayor Lenny Curry and his JEA board buddies are in a pickle.

Or maybe a bind.

Or a jam.

At the very least they are face to face with a conundrum.

If JEA’s board names Aaron Zahn the utilities’ next CEO, even if he is the most qualified of the candidates for the job, which he isn’t, the cries will be loud that the fix was in from the beginning, that Curry was pulling the strings of hand-picked puppets he appointed to what’s supposed to be an independent authority to select Zahn, Curry’s friend and supporter.

Even though Zahn is going up against other candidates with much stronger resumes, one board member said the interim CEO deserved to make it to the final round because of his “passion” for the job.

Passion is a good thing, but it has its limits as a qualification for a job.

For example, Curry has a passion for football, but that doesn’t qualify him to coach the Jaguars.

There’s another strange twist in this intriguing episode. The board is considering making background checks on the candidates simply a “pass/fail” affair because otherwise details would be part of the public record.

That certainly leaves a very big “hmmm” in the room.

And Election Day added another  ingredient to the brine this pickle is curing in.

Almost three-quarters of Jacksonville’s voters approved a straw ballot measure that said voters should have a say in whether the city-owned utility is sold, an underlying theme of this whole drama about the control of JEA.

A conundrum indeed.



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I wrote opinion columns for The Florida Times-Union for 28 years. I retired in December 2017, but I still have a few things to say. Often those thoughts come to me when I'm at our farm in Gadsden County where life is simple and the environment still beautiful.

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