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Jax Daily Record Monday, Nov. 9, 202007:10 PM EST

Jay Stowe signs CEO contract with JEA

The next chief executive of Jacksonville’s city-owned utility starts Nov. 30 with a $560,000 base annual salary.
by: Mike Mendenhall Associate Editor

Jay Stowe’s first day on the job as CEO and managing director of city-owned utility JEA will be Nov. 30. 

The former Tennessee Valley Authority and Huntsville, Alabama, public utility executive signed a five-year contract with JEA on Nov. 6. It includes a base salary of $560,000.

JEA board Chair John Baker signed the fully executed contract Nov. 8. 

Stowe’s deal includes JEA’s standard pension and health benefits; a monthly $850 vehicle allowance; a $1,000 per month business allowance; and an immediate allowed grant of 80 hours of leave. 

He then will accrue leave at the same rate as JEA employees with five years of service at 184 hours a year.

Stowe will receive a 3% annual salary increase beginning in November 2021.

The board selected the 52-year-old Stowe as its next leader during a special meeting Nov. 2 to replace interim CEO Paul McElroy. 

McElroy came out of retirement May 8 to lead JEA on a six-month contract after the board fired former CEO Aaron Zahn in January.

Stowe is CEO and founder of Stowe Utility Group LLC in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He is the former senior vice president of resources and operations support for the TVA where he was employed from October 2016 to October 2019.

Before that, Stowe worked for nearly 11 years at Huntsville Utilities, the city-owned energy, water and natural gas organization in Alabama. He served more than eight years as vice president of operations and chief operating officer before he became president and CEO in 2014.

Stowe declined to participate in JEA’s pay for performance plan, a $3 million to $7 million incentive program offered to all utility employees to meet or exceed operational efficiency goals.

Zahn included the plan in his employment contract approved by the board in July 2019. That plan was implemented by the CEO until that authority was shifted to the utility’s board of directors June 23.

Also missing from Stowe’s deal is a 12-month consulting contract worth $634,000 that was part of Zahn’s deal. 

Stowe will lead JEA following more than a year of uncertainty and full executive leadership team turnover. Efforts to sell the city-owned utility last year by Zahn, members of his executive leadership team were ended Dec. 24. 


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