Florida Times-Union by Nate Monroe
December 27, 2019
Previously confidential meeting notes show concerns over Sunshine Law violations and a rushed process, and they make it clear JEA leaders and Mayor Lenny Curry still have many questions to answer.
COMMENTARY | One of Mayor Lenny Curry’s top administration officials strongly pushed for the JEA sale process to wrap up by the end of January, a timeline several involved in negotiations described as aggressive and that might have forced several bidders to drop out, according to previously confidential notes taken by the city’s ethics director.
The lead negotiator — Curry’s deputy chief administrative officer, Stephanie Burch — seemed unconcerned by indications the speedy push for final offers could have limited competition. In fact, Burch indicated several times she hoped the shortened time frame would do exactly that: Force several to drop out, leaving only one or two left at the end of January, according to the notes.
In addition, the city’s ethics director, Carla Miller, became convinced the secret negotiation sessions, which were held in Atlanta, violated the state’s open-government law. She was convinced enough that on Dec. 18 she informed the city’s top lawyer she planned to take her concerns to the State Attorney’s Office, according to correspondence between Miller and city attorneys.