Florida Crown Affair • Search Continues For Columbia
County Issues (Part II)
Columbia County, FL (posted June 18,
The legendary Dixie County Commissioner and FCWB member,
Ralph Tyre, attempts to get some answers from Columbia
County's Consortium delegate, Commissioner Stephen
Columbia County was still playing it close to the
vest as Mr. Tyre continued to search for answers from
Months after Columbia County Commissioner, Jody
Dupree, threw the region into turmoil with his ill timed
motion of imaginary problems with the Region Seven
Workforce Board, Commissioner Bailey still would not or
could not reveal any details.
Commissioner Bailey’s answers (see
Part I) revealed that Columbia County, after
receiving thousands of pages of information, was still
unaware of the role of the consortium in a work force
Mr. Tyre continued with his questions:
We need to find out where the problem
“We’ll do that as a full board. Our full board will do
that. When we sit at different meetings throughout the
state and we hear what other regions are doing and have
the ability to do – that we’re not doing. We’re asking
why and that’s why we’re asking the question. Why we’re
not doing things that other areas can do and that have
the ability to do...”
When you sit in Gainesville Florida at a state strategic
planning meeting for economic development and for
Workforce Florida and they’re sitting there talking
about the future of the way things are going and there’s
no one there representing this region – that concerns me
“When you’re road mapping the future of this area to the
county. That concerns me greatly.”
Commissioner Bailey was at that meeting in
Gainesville. He is a member of the Consortium that
represents "this region." Other than his
generalizations, it was unclear what he learned and as
the conversation progressed, it became clear that
Commissioner Bailey was not clear on the issues.
Mr. Tyre mentioned economic development in the
Commissioner Bailey responded:
I think it depends on how you define economic
Mr. Tyre pressed on:
What’s your definition?
Because economic development is not just out going and
getting a company and recruiting them into your county.
Economic development also is maintaining that and how
workforce ties into the role of economic development.
Workforce is a huge key into economic development. It’s
Mr. Tyre explained that those
projects use Federal money. “There are guidelines.”
Commissioner Bailey: How
come Tallahassee and the state says that it can be done?
Mr. Larry Thompson, FCWB chairman stepped in:
In defense of the Board, when WFI gets up and makes a
presentation and they say that Workforce is a key – [it
is] because they are... Those dollars come directly from
WFI. They don’t go to the board. If that’s an
interpretation on your Board’s part to say well, we’re
not getting those dollars because Florida Crown’s not
writing the check – that’s a misconception.
Commissioner Bailey agrees with Mr.
Thompson: I agree with that – because that’s
not how – they don’t flow through.
... Those dollars don’t flow through Florida Crown. Is
there some wiggle room in our budget – yes, but the
percentage of those dollars is very small and restricted
compared to what’s available from WFI. WFI may be able
to issue one grant that would exceed our entire WIA
budget. Technically, they have the ability to do that.
As usual, no one was getting anywhere with Columbia
Executive Director Chastain: I
am concerned that we need to go on record with the
people of Columbia County and just assure them that
Florida Crown will continue to deliver services to them
and they will continue to be represented by their
existing board members.
Commissioner Marvin Hunt of Dixie County agreed that
Chairperson Sharon Langford of Gilchrest County would
sign a letter to that effect.
The Consortium meeting adjourned.
Just like the way Columbia County runs itself --
never being able to admit a mistake; always taking short
cuts and finding ways to skirt the truth; double talking
and flimflaming its residents -- it treats other
counties and indeed, Workforce Florida and the
Board member Downs reflected the feelings of just
about everyone who has been following the Florida Crown
Affair since the beginning.
Mr. Downs told Commissioner Bailey:
Stephen, I found that very disappointing. You have
created such a stink. I have no idea who you are. I have
no idea what your gripe is. What you’ve done is offend
people like me. That’s what kind of a good job you’ve