JEA drops interim CEO; Florida Lt. Governor Jeanette Nunez on Phase One reopening; Impact of pan...
While. The entire world's attention has been on coronavirus, for two months Jacksonville's, scandal, at the energy utility gets attention once again we've, made the. Symbolic. The. Brand-new Board of Directors makes their first order of business dropping. The interim, chief executive, for chair John Baker joins us to discuss firing. Melissa dykes and what lays ahead for JTA following, the second part of the first session, together as a board on this week in Jacksonville. So. Glad you're with us today Jay is really, been rocked by controversy, in the past several months that included, the entire Board, of Directors resigning, or deciding not to return when their terms wrapped up this winter now, a new board has been appointed and just, in time for dealing with the fallout of last year's upheaval, John Baker joins us this morning the newly, named a Board of Directors chairman, at JEA, thanks for being with us Rick, Mulaney is our political analyst, and the director of the Public, Policy Institute he's with us as well so mr.. Baker first board meeting and it seemed like maybe even first order of business was. Removing. The interim CEO Melissa, dykes tell us why that was important, kind, of right out of the gates to get started with well. We. All have followed what went on at JEA, for, the last year, of year, and a half and, there. Were a lot of missteps, made, a, lot, of questionable. Calls and, I. Think, the community really. Lost confidence. In the management of, JEA. I think, the employees, at JEA, had lost confidence, in, the management and. Melissa. Was, the CEO, and, president of. The. Utility, and when. You're in. That leadership role you, have to live with, the. Results of that and the, results, were terrible, and I. Felt. That. If. We. Didn't. Do something that. The credibility. Of the new board would. Just go out the window if the employees, would say oh this, is just more of the same they're. Just going along, they're not paying attention they're, not focused, they're, not. Creating. A new day and Melissa, is an, extraordinary, person she's.
Talented But. She, was also the face of. JEA. And, in. My view that. Wasn't the right face at this time yeah Rick Mulaney I want to bring you and I know that you've, been part of our coverages, we've walked, through what's been happening, with JEA, and I know you had some questions for sir Brown as well oh well, I did John and thank you for your service John, one of the things that we want to talk about as a replacement and what what led to choosing Paul McElroy who certainly brings a very strong financial background, and experience, but why Paul, McElroy in the in the months ahead, well. Paul. This. Is this, is kkona virus town and. We've. We, needed an. Interim CEO and, what, possible. Person could. Be a better. Solution. In, somebody, that had been CEO, and, knew. Where. The bathroom, was knew more, importantly, who. The people were who. Who. Were. Great, performers, who, were not great performers, and so, we involved. We get a person, that, is immediately, plugged, in to what. Needs. To be done, and what has to be done you. Know more. Than that though. Paul. All. And I had known each other but not well and. So. I talked, to him a long time. Over. The last week several. Different times and, I. Learned that he is a guy that. Is a, straight. Guy a moral. Guy a, guy, that ethics, mean means, everything, to and, that, is exactly, the kind of person we need in that job right now we're, lucky and I apologize I called you mr. Brown I'm gonna go clearly John Baker, it's a the, chairman. Of the board here and now and. Rick I wanted I know you wanted to follow up on this question because it was worth talking about Paul McElroy 16, years, at. JEA, so he's, got that experience, talking about and Rick. To your point as we talked offline before we had this interview, he. Made some comments, that are pretty important in light of the controversy, over the last couple of years, well, John one of the things I want to follow up with you and is the chair of the board a year ago in July said. That JEA faced, a quote certain, death spiral, if, in fact they did not privatize, and now us. Chair or, in that position and a two-part question as one is do you share his view, that JEA, is in a certain death spiral, unless, these actions were taken privatization and what is your view financially. For. The future of JEA, based on where we are today. JEA. Is. Going, to inherit some. Pretty. Big expenses, legal, expenses, tens of millions of dollars. And. It. Won't be a blip, on the radar. JEA. Is, producing. Well. The. Water system, is growing the, revenues. In, electricity. Or growing. There. Couldn't, of been a, bigger. Fabrication. Of the facts than, to say they were in a death spiral I got. That. Presentation. And I took it to a good friend of mine that, was. Head of Southern. California. Edison, and, asked him I said is this true. Or I mean. We. Need to know and. He. Said John. There's. Not a business, in the world today. That if. You sit on your hands, and do nothing that won't, be made you're. Irrelevant. Before. Very long and, he. Said but that's. Us what's going to happen in JEA if, they've got good leadership they, will move they will adapt they, will change you. Know the, world, is not bleak you, know I want, to point out we've talked a little bit about Melissa dikes but she'd. Been with JEA eight years was the interim CEO twice, including, most recently and, then, became the first member of the JEA, senior, leadership team to talk about this federal investigation. Going on so here's what she said she said in late 2019, I reached the State Attorney's office and told them I was willing to assist in the investigation I did, the same with the US Department of Justice the US attorney and the FBI I'm proud, that I've filled that commitment, without wavering, this. Will not change I thank those men and women for their professional, and biased and non-political. Investigation. Of the facts so, as we sit today part of the reason that there's a new board and that there's a new, interim, CEO is, because. There are these investigations. Of things that have happened that the. Public is demanding answers, for. Where. Do you sit where does the board sit do you as a board of directors forge a do, you want those answers, to whether it comes from a federal grand jury investigation. Or the City Council investigation, or wherever it comes I wanted as a citizen, of Jacksonville. If. If. The FBI, investigates. It and decides. That there's no criminal activity then. Nothing. Happens it's in cases dropped and there's no comment, there's no explanation, there's.
No. Understanding. That we get out of their explanation. If the grand jury decides, that there's no criminal, activity which, I hope is the case, you. Know, the. Counsel on the other hand is. Charged. With governance. And governing. JEA, is, part of the city and they. Saw that a lot went wrong and so I think, they, are entitled, and, absolutely. Appropriate, to. Go go. Into the facts learn as much about what went wrong and make sure it never happens, again I applaud. That completely. As, the. Chair of, JEA. I hope, they get on it and get on it quick because. The. Biggest problem. We. Will have in attracting, a really, first-class permanent. CEO is. Ongoing. Investigations. So if they're over. Everybody. Knows where we stand and we've, got this great utility. That just needs some, great, leadership, it becomes a very. Much, easier, task to. Bring in a top rank for, John, Baker I appreciate on a Rick mulaney's, been part of our conversation, but as things get moving, forward I know people in Jacksonville, specifically. Are saying. Let's. Get back to being able to trust what. Our utility, does. And what, it's all about thanks so much for your time today thank you enjoyed it all right and stay with us up next on this week in Jacksonville, we're talking with the lieutenant governor in the state of Florida Jeanette Nunez. My. Father Bill Harrell, had a vision for Harrell and Harrell a. Vision. To be passionate committed. And to serve those who need us, he. Instilled in us hard work a respect, for service and to fight for those who have been injured. We, are proud and honored to continue his legacy and his mission. Harrell, and Herold call. Us at two five one one one one one. Don't. Settle for less than you deserve. Some. People say there, are many Florida's. But. In this moment, we. Are one. We. Might not share the same concerns. Responsibility. Joy. Or. Fear. But. We all share the same hope to. Stay healthy and get. Through this together. For. 75, years, Florida. Blues remained committed to the one place we call home. With. Funeral, costs averaging over $10,000, and expected, to be over $30,000. In 20 years how can seniors pay for their funeral and not leave this debt to their families. Senior, Life Insurance Company offers state regulated, life insurance, plans to help cover your final, expenses, up, to $30,000, in tax free money with. Plans around $12. A month covering, your final, expenses, has never been more affordable, this. Low rate is also locked in for life and your coverage amount will never decrease you. Also cannot be turned down for any health reason, you, could qualify for full coverage from day one even if you have many common health issues like diabetes, high, blood pressure or, arthritis, this. Is all done with no medical, exam, Senior. Life is now enrolling people for this important, benefit so call the number for free information, don't. Miss this opportunity for, free information on your available, benefits make, the free call now. Facts. Have never been more important, than now they can be the difference between life, and death, rely on the trust index your first line of defense against, disinformation just, look for the seal it's true, means that passed the test and, can back it up not true, means it's fake don't trust it and be careful means not entirely right or wrong but it could be risky in the battle against disinformation no, fact is off the table if it seems suspicious send, it to us and we'll get answers the, trust index only on news for Jax a need, of a little good news for, a change we're highlighting the heroic, acts of our neighbors friends, and families, celebrating. The small ways they're sparking, a smile and giving, back to our community, watch, something good tonight at 7:00 on channel 4 the local station news, changes, faster, than ever, download, the news for Jax app live stream every, newscast alerts, sent to you when updates, come into the newsroom information. You can trust from a team you know search news for Jax in your App Store. You're. Watching this week in Jacksonville, with Kent Justice, this.
Week Phase one of the reopening, got underway in Florida I spoke with lieutenant governor Jeanette, Nunez, via Skype about the process, and the challenges, and the characterization, that reopening. In the state is slow, and methodical, I would, say that governor DeSantis, rolled. Out his phase one it, was a safe, smart, step-by-step. Plan as you heard him talk about it we really want to make sure that as we open. Up Florida's, economy. 64. Out of the 67, counties were, able this past Monday, to start, opening up in limited, capacity, but in a way that we'll be able to build upon it and not have to take steps backwards, yeah. Lots of folks, have, decided across the country, or even the world to, weigh in on, different. Countries different counties different States and what their plans have been why. Do you feel confident, about these steps that are being taken here, in Florida. What. I would tell you is that we've been looking very closely, at the data we've been looking at the percent, rate of positivity, that is a national. Standard the 10 percent benchmark. Most. Of Florida's counties are well below that I think Duval County has been hovering around four to five percent even. Our most impacted. County, Miami Dade County is just now. Just. Shy above that ten percent so we're hoping to get all of Florida well, below the numbers and in addition we look at surveillance, data county, by county in, terms of hospital emergency, room, visits, with, any of the symptoms associated with Kovan 19 so for example shortness, of breath fever, cough, all of those associated. Symptoms were, able to see on a County basis, if we're, having an uptick, in emergency. Room visits so all of that combined, show, that the downward trajectory that, Florida's been on is something, that I believe is positive, and we're hopeful the trend will continue but, again as we reopen, the economy, we want to do so gradually, and in, a way that'll, be long, term so we won't have to as I said before take steps backwards, well one of the things I saw attributed to you here in this most, recent week, a quote, that said noona said the role of the task force wasn't to focus on the public health of data necessarily. Maybe help people understand, it but that's a component of it but that's not all that you personally are looking at on the reopen task force sure. So the charge of the task force was to come forward with recommendations with, suggestions, we, did over 20 hours of interviews. We, had individuals. From all walks of life leaders. In different sectors, of our economy everything. From small businesses, to the theme parks, you name it we, of course looked, at public health data we had Department, of Health provide presentations. To the task force so we can understand, what is the basis, for our decision-making and for the governor's ultimate, plan and so it was centered, on data its data-driven, but, the role of the task force was really to provide recommendations on. Reopening, the economy, and we know that's, something Floridians, are eager to get back to work and small. Business owners and large business owners alike or eager to once again open, after having been shuttered in some cases for close to over a month and a half yeah I've been very tough on the workers and those small businesses, as well I wanted, you to weigh in on this one of the things I thought was very interesting the, task force came up with recommendations but, not all of those recommendations are.
Ultimately. What governor de santé decided. To lay out it his plan for reopening starting this week right. Certainly. So the task force provided a report and again it consisted, of a, lot. Of different opinions from individuals. From all the different sectors of our economy. What the governor decided to do was take that report review. It analyzes, sympathizes. And really come forward with a plan that works for Florida, and so while there was some variations, on the report for, example we, had recommended, to open up at, 50%, capacity for, restaurants, he decided to go with a more gradual, approach at 25%. In the hopes that we can get to not only 50 not only 75, but a hundred percent and also he looked at the, White House Task Force they're opening up America, plan and again there was some variation there some things that the White House Task Force recommended, that we chose to not to. Not do it this time yeah it's, it's tough to see partisan. Politics, play out in a crisis, like this but sometimes that happens and one of those things has, been some criticism of Governor DeSantis, for on April 29th going to the White House meeting with the president meeting with dr. Burks about. The reopening plan, how, would you answer those critics out there who say hey this administration. In Florida is just kind of a rubber-stamp whatever the president wants, to do well. I think that's absurd I think obviously the governor's. Plan speaks. To that there were things the White House recommended, that the governor chose not to do for example like, opening, movie theaters so, I think the governor has shown not only is he independent. He is data-driven he's measured, but of course we're gonna work with the White House the White House has been instrumental, and, everything, from signing off on many of our public health plans are reopening, task force but in addition they've helped to secure many. Thousands. Of test kits just, today we were able to announce the. Mobile. Lab with, the Cepheid, rapid, test which we get results in 45, minutes again, the White House was able to secure many of those, tests for Florida, in addition. To countless. PPE. Requirements. That we cut we have obviously, with our with, our health care workers we, knew there was a national, shortage so in order to really do what's best for Floridians, the, governor, worked very closely with the White House with the Trump administration and, I think that's not partisan that's, just being prudent. We. Also spoke briefly about unemployment, where the lieutenant governor says it's still a work in progress but improvement. Is being, to get money to the people so, in need in Florida. Rick. Mulaney comes back to join us again we're diving into the changes forced upon the political world by kovat 19, and the huge stakes ahead that's, next on this week in Jacksonville, you. May. Not see them but your itchy eyes know, they're out there thousands, of allergens in each cubic, yard of air no wonder you rub your eyes hundreds, of times a day but, now relief, is just one, drop away, introducing. Padded a full prescription spring, padded a works right in your eyes right in the cells that make them itch fast just, one drop once a day means, relief that lasts, all day, so. Turn your day into a padded, day now, get Pat a date without a prescription, everywhere. And, these uncertain, times that has never been more important, to maintain a clean home or business we are prepared, to get your space back to clean and healthy again we've added a new EPA registered, cleaner that disinfects, hard surfaces, and deep cleans carpet, rugs and upholstery. We disinfect our equipment after every, job and disinfect, our vehicles daily we. Believe in doing things the right way that's. Why we've been your trusted partner and clean for over seven years. Hello. My, name is Matthew Modine see I'm a Baptist primary, care physician, at the Neptune Beach location, I want, to show you that Baptist Health is here for you it is important, to take care of your health during this uncertain, time, Baptist. Primary, care providers, are forging ahead with new technologies, and abilities. To care for you while maintaining social, distancing, offering. Virtual visits, your. Medical needs such as fob appointments, annual. Wellness or, simple bothersome, issues like aches and pains will not have to go on addressed we.
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Single, Day or is this a disadvantage, because every single day he's got to defend here's, what we're doing about this crisis. Across the country well can't a couple thoughts. One. Of the reasons why it's hard to predict what will happen in November is there's so much uncertainty between. What's going to happen now and then and also, there's a great deal of risk for the president over the next few months if there's a second wave and there likely could very well be a second wave if you have a rising tolls in terms of infections, and deaths and there we summarized the question is how significant, and the disbanding of the task force it does carry risk risk, on the public health issue risk, to the economy and risk politically. As far as the press conferences, ago there is just no question that the president has received mixed results, there is certainly a hardcore base that, supports what he's done there's been detractors, that have criticized it but for those in the middle overall. The performance has been very mixed I believe. Overall, for president, Trump these press conferences, have been a missed opportunity, and by missed opportunity, I mean the public wants him to succeed they, want him to do, they want to be supportive but, his performances, have been uneven, on the policy, side I think some of the initiatives, that have been taken have been very strong national, emergency, on March 13th. Bringing, together some very talented people, -. Production of ventilators, and masks. And testing and equipment and hospitalization, capability. But, when he gets into the question-and-answer session, with journalists, that has been a real downfall for the President and therefore. What you've seen after initial, rising. In the polls you've seen it drift back to that very steady, place, where he almost always is which means come November if it stays the way it is now a very close contest, with a loyal, loyal base a loyal, loyal group of detractors and some, people in the middle that aren't quite sure, well you mentioned earlier that the, Senate could be in play when we get to November and often. Senate, races are tied to how, it goes in that presidential, election. Is is this the case this time as well very, much they are tied together and, I think you can see the kotel effect here currently. The the Republicans, have a lead majority.
In The Senate 53, to 47, but remember this this November unlike, two years ago the, Republicans, will be defending in 23, seats the Democrats defending. In 12 often. That creates greater opportunities, for the Democrats to pick up a few seats take a look at some vulnerable states potentially, Maine potentially, Colorado, Arizona, even North Carolina so, the Senate is definitely in play and that is a big big, deal it's a big deal for the policy, agenda that, comes post-november. And of course you have a Democratic, lead in the house so, the stakes are very very high as we, move in the months ahead unchartered. Territory, for the nation unchartered. In terms of how we're dealing with this virus, uncharted. For how we restart, this economy, it will clearly be faced as the governor has said here and as others have said we're not flipping a switch it. Will be more like just, a very phased and approach for a gradual, approach and so, big, stakes in November and a lot of uncertainty yeah, I mean, I know this I'll, get to navigate that with you, thank. You so much for your insights appreciate, you being here this morning they keep talking about it as the months go by so. Here's, what we're working on for the coming weeks for this week in Jacksonville, we're in contact with the state senator Audrey Gibson, she's, the Minority Leader and the leading Democrat, in the Florida Legislature. With her we're, also working for interviews on both the Republican, and the Democratic, side of the presidential, campaign so. Stay, tuned today I get justice thanks for watching on air and channel 4 and the CW 17, and you can find this, episode and others online at, News for Jack's com. More, people in Northeast, Florida and, South Georgia get, their news from news warjack than, anywhere, else.