The Florida Times-Union by David Bauerlein
October 10, 2019
JEA says it is asking entities to let the agency disclose the identify of those selected to enter the negotiation phases for a potential privatization deal.
Amid keen interest from ratepayers and City Council members, JEA is asking businesses that made offers for privatizing the utility to let JEA reveal their names Monday if they make the cut for advancing to the negotiation stage.
JEA spokeswoman Gina Kyle said entities that want to remain confidential can do so. The utility previously told entities interested in pursuing a deal with JEA that the utility would keep their names secret for months until the end of the process, which would probably be in February.
That promise of confidentiality is not something JEA can offer, said Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, a nonprofit based in Tallahassee.
She said state law provides an exemption from public disclosure of bids for until 30 days after the bids are opened. She said the names of the bidders are subject to disclosure “and the fact that JEA has promised confidentiality to those who wish to remain anonymous is immaterial.”