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Jax Daily Record Monday, Mar. 23, 202007:40 PM EST

JEA fills two senior team vacancies

Former fire chief Kurt Wilson and assistant Clay County attorney Jody Brooks named to leadership roles.
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

JEA filled two vacant positions on its senior leadership team.

The utility named Jody Brooks as chief legal counsel and former Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department Director and Chief Kurt Wilson as interim vice president and chief government affairs officer.

Former Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department Director and Chief Kurt Wilson was named interim vice president and chief government affairs officer at JEA.

JEA Interim CEO Melissa Dykes announced the hires in a news release March 23.

Brooks was JEA’s chief legal officer from August 2016 through March 2019, then served as a full-time assistant Clay County attorney.

Brooks joined the city Office of General Counsel as an assistant general counsel in April 2013 before she was appointed the office’s government operations chief in October 2015.

She replaces the utility’s former chief legal officer, Lynne Rhode, who resigned Dec. 19. 

Rhode faced criticism last year for telling board members that a stock option-style long-term employee incentive plan had been fully vetted by the city Office of General Counsel. 

City General Counsel Jason Gabriel wrote in a Nov. 12 memo that, at the time of the JEA board’s July 23 vote, his office understood the plan “in general conceptual terms as an employee incentive program.”

City Council Auditor Kyle Billy released a report in November 2019 that showed the plan could have cost JEA ratepayers and the city more than $600 million if the utility had been sold to a private company. 

Under the city charter, the general counsel’s office is required to provide JEA legal services.

“As the Office of General Counsel’s Chief Legal Counsel for JEA, Jody brings with her a long history with JEA and will play an important role to ensure Jacksonville’s utility and the Office of General Counsel work transparently and collaboratively on behalf of JEA’s employees and customers,” Dykes said in the news release. 

Wilson fills the spot vacated by former utility Vice President Sherry Hall, who left JEA on Dec. 27 after accepting a position in the Duval County Tax Collector’s Office. 

Wilson retired as JDRF director and chief on May 31 after 25 years at the agency. He has served as captain of Fire Station 21 and chief of the Administrative Services, Fire Prevention and Operations divisions.

“His experience will translate well into his new role on JEA’s Senior Leadership Team as the liaison to the city including the Jacksonville City Council and the Florida Legislature,” Dykes said.


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