INVESTIGATES: FDOT district secretary hasn’t been to a JTA board meeting in over 5 years

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax’s Emily Turner is exposing a major lack of oversight at the Jacksonville Transportation Authority.


The lack of oversight goes back years and reaches all the way to the Governor’s Office.

Turner has been digging into the agency for months, and she found absenteeism instead of accountability, specifically on the state side of things.

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Not only has the Governor’s Office failed to respond to Action News Jax, it’s failed to replace termed-out board members for months, and the state representative from the Department of Transportation hasn’t been to a meeting in more than 5 years.

Greg Evans is the district secretary for the Florida Department of Transportation and a mandatory member of the JTA board, but you wouldn’t know it from his attendance record.

He wasn’t at the latest meeting in December, and Action News Jax found he hasn’t been to a meeting since August of 2018.

Read: ANJ Investigation holding JTA accountable for performance issues and possible problems

Steve Page at the University of Washington’s School of Public Policy and Governance said, “You’ve got an absenteeism problem there.”

Even though board membership is literally part of the job, JTA’s bylaws and state legislation, Evans never returned our emails or calls and our request for comment from FDOT went unanswered as well.

So, we followed the road Page laid out.

“There is still an additional step in the accountability ladder or hierarchy, which is who appoints or elects the people that appoint those board members,” Page explained.

Read: Action News Jax Investigates uncovered major declines in JTA’s service and promises

Evans wouldn’t talk and neither would the agency that employs him, so we took it to the Governor’s Office, which not only appoints the Secretary of FDOT, Evans’ boss, but also 3 other members of JTA’s board.

This request, just like the 5 previous ones, went unacknowledged.

“This is, you know, a classic democratic accountability problem with a series of what economists would call ‘principal-agent problems,’” Page said.

Read: Investigates: How much time is JTA’s CEO spending in the office?

And there’s another problem with the principal agent, or in other words, the governor. Former Chair Ari Jolly is one of CEO Nat Ford’s biggest fans, as evidenced by her 20-minute monologue saying as much at last month’s meeting. She has been termed out since June of last year but has continued to vote because the governor has yet to appoint her replacement.

Admittedly, he’s been otherwise engaged making sure to hit all 99 counties in Iowa ahead of next week’s caucuses while issues in his home state go unanswered.

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