Columbia County Commissioners
MIA for their first scheduled Board Meeting
Columbia County, FL (posted
County Manager Dale Williams explains the meeting
rescheduling at the December 17th Commission meeting.
A Columbia County Commissioner, with benefits, makes
about a thousand dollars a week. Some folks think that
they have a right to know why their commissioners cannot
attend a Board meeting. If three out of five weren't
showing up, one would think the public has a right to
know where their Commissioners are. Not in Columbia
The Columbia County Commission ended 2009 by
canceling their first scheduled 2010 Commission meeting
and rescheduling two days earlier, during the day, when
working families will not be able to attend. Why? The
real reason is anybody's guess. So far the legendary
"good ole boys" of Columbia County aren't really
talking, except in double speak.
The County Commission's most recent bit of monkey
business began at the very end of the December 3, 2009
Board meeting, when District II Commissioner Dewey
Weaver realized that County Manager Dale Williams forgot
to mention the purported need to reschedule the year's
first meeting, a month away.
Com Weaver asked County Manager ("CM") Williams, "Did
you check the calendar for possible conflict like we
County Manager Dale Williams was obviously not
The rest could have been right out of an Abbot
and Costello movie:
There is. The first falls on a Friday.
And the first meeting -- the first Thursday in
January -- is the 7th and there will be a conflict. (To
Carolyn Baker) Check and make sure I’m not here.
Com Ronald Williams:
If there is a conflict, I move that we move that
To what date?
What’s the first Thursday in January? (some talking
among themselves) There will be a conflict on the 8th --
I’m sorry -- I have a day off.
(No one asked why long
time Assistant County Manager, Lisa Roberts, could not
stand in for the County Manager, as she has many time
OK. Then we need the board to decide if they want to
move that meeting to 3 o’clock in the afternoon -- on
(more ~inaudible~ talk
among themselves – so much for the Sunshine Law)
Karl [Burckhardt – a local news man] clarified --
we’re gettin you confused -- the date is in fact the
7th. On the 7th of January there are a number of people
who will not be present. So I was asked today by Com
Weaver to check and verify that and if so to ask the
Board if they wish to move the meeting that would be on
that date, to a different day. And if we are, we have to
give ample notice, because it has to be advertised in
accordance with the charter.
I move it to 3 o’clock.
A number of people are goin to be gone that entire
The 6th is a Wednesday? Is that correct?
The 6th is a Wednesday.
The 5th is a Tuesday. We could do it on Tuesday at 3
Will we be able to get this building?
Well, when we go to advertise it, we’ll find out.
So January 5th at 3pm. And that will be in the form
of a motion.
The motion passed unanimously.
No one ever divulged, or asked, which Commissioners
or member of the staff, other than the County Manager,
weren't going to be available for the first Board
meeting of the year or why, nor does the County Charter
say anything about advertising.
On December 17th, The Board and the County Manager
had another bite of the apple and another chance to come
clean, when, after discovering their Dec 3rd "sleight of
hand" original attempt to reschedule the Board meeting
wasn't legal, they had to do it all over again, this
time, the right way, by resolution as required by the
Before the Board passed the resolution, the Observer
asked the reason the meeting was being rescheduled.
County Manager Dale Williams answered, "The reason is
we anticipated there would be people out of town that
might be hard to obtain a quorum. And because the
charter requires a specific number of days of
notification, the decision has to be made in advance.
In plain English, this means three Columbia County
Commissioners are out of town, or somewhere, after the
long Christmas Holiday without any explanation.
County Manager Dale Williams, true to form, made up
the part about the "specific number of days of
notification," as the Charter is silent on this issue,
saying only " The Board of County Commissioners shall
provide by resolution for the location, time and place
for holding all regular meetings of the Board of County
In Columbia County Florida, the New Year begins with
business as usual.