The St. Johns deputy county attorney will start July 26.
St. Johns Deputy County Attorney Regina D. Ross has been hired as JEA’s chief legal adviser.
In a June 23 email, General Counsel Jason Gabriel said Ross will start July 26 at an annual salary of $155,000.
JEA CEO Jay Stowe announced the hire during the utility’s June 22 board of directors meeting.
Ross will fill the position left vacant since February when Stowe named JEA Chief Legal Counsel Jody Brooks as the utility’s chief administrative officer.
Ross has been with the St. Johns County Attorney’s Office since 2007, according to her bio on the county website.
She served as a judicial law clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida and the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania and worked for the U.S. Department of Defense.
She earned degrees from the University of Florida, Valdosta State University and the Pennsylvania State University School of Law.
Brooks replaced JEA Vice President and Chief Legal Officer Lynne Rhode, who resigned in December 2019 from the general counsel’s office.
At the time, Rhode faced criticism from the general counsel’s office and City Council, along with several members of JEA’s former senior leadership team, for her role in signing off on an employee bonus plan leading to its approval by the JEA board.
The bonus plan and attempt to sell the city-owned utility to a private company resulted in the firing of former JEA CEO Aaron Zahn and his leadership team.
Like Rhode and Brooks, Ross will report directly to Gabriel but will not be part of JEA’s executive leadership team.
“While she will be completely dedicated to JEA for their legal needs, she will not have any JEA title and is not considered a part of any JEA corporate structure,” Gabriel said in his email.
Gabriel said Ross’s start date could change depending on the needs of the St. Johns County Attorney’s Office during the transition.
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