Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Columbia County News

Glenn Hunter, Economic Development Director by Default: It's the Pedigree, Not Degree That Counts

FL's Sunshine Law a problem for Mr. Hunter

Looking for money, Glenn Hunter addressed The 5 before resigning from the School Board to run for superintendent. (2012)

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Columbia County Florida has for generations been famous for good ole' boy cronyism; backroom dealing; questionable financial oversight; failing schools; racism and sexism; and a Hapsburg mentality that puts one's pedigree before one's degree.

The appointment of one of Columbia County's good ole' boys, former long time school board member Glenn Hunter, a man who admittedly has little to no economic development experience; had an incomplete job application; didn't list his degrees on his application; and listed as a job qualification "the opportunity to speak with Governor's [sic: governors] and Legislators..." fits the mold that has given Columbia County its well earned reputation that is most always greeted by a snicker and a smirk.

Mr. Hunter's appointment was made by Columbia County's long time County Manager, Dale Williams, apparently sometime after 3pm on Thursday afternoon, for when the Observer called the HR Dept. at about 3pm and asked if the candidate had come to contract terms, the answer was "not yet."

The two other finalists withdrew

The two other finalists had previously withdrawn their names from consideration: one with real economic development experience and the other a home town girl with strong good ole' boy ties.

The former economic development director, Jessie Quillen, was found by a head hunter and had real economic development experience. His salary when hired was $110,000 a year. Some folks believe he began looking for a new job soon after beginning his employment and the discovery of what actually drove this infamous county.

Mr. Hunter turned in the same resume and cover letter for the positions of assistant county manager and economic development director.

On his application, Mr. Hunter listed his present salary at Hunter Printing in Lake City as $65,000. As economic development director, he was asking for a salary of between $105k to $115k.

If he had received the midpoint of $110k, his County neighbors would have had to pony up an additional $33K, giving him a pay increase of 69% plus benefits, making the total cost about $143,000.

Not mentioned on Mr. Hunter's resume is the fact that during his tenure on the Columbia County School Board, Columbia County High School maintained a D rating for four consecutive years and that according to Gateway Community College President Chuck Hall, 90% of Columbia County High students entering the college need remediation in English.

Mr. Hunter also appears to have been challenged on the application when asked to mention his course "major/minor" in college. Rather than put his course of study or degree, he answered, "Major" for the degree or degrees requested. His resume also did not mention his course of study at UF.

Mr. Hunter apparently could not think of any business references that had anything to do with economic development or business, so he mentioned personal references: the former public defender; the property appraiser; and the tax collector – all boyhood friends.

Florida's Sunshine Law – a problem

Mr. Hunter complained that when he was a school board member, which was a job that concerns the public's business and the public's money, he was unable "to work with other board members to plan as we do in private business due to the constraints of the sunshine laws."

Florida's sunshine laws are designed to protect the public from backroom deals.

Thursday at The 5: somebody knew - nobody talked

At Thursday night's County Commission meeting it was clear that at least one person in the room knew that another quintessential Columbia County good ole' boy, Glen Hunter, had become the next economic development director. County Manager Williams, the man responsible for hiring him, didn't say a word.

If any of The 5 knew of the appointment of Glen Hunter, the Sheriff's brother; former School Board member; recently failed candidate for school superintendent; and most recently a candidate for Columbia County assistant county manager, they weren't talking.

Glen Hunter had just scored a coup that gave him a 31% pay raise over his claimed $65K private industry salary and a chance to boost his FRS school board pension into the stratosphere.

On Friday, the Lake City Reporter, or the Lake City "Repeater or Distorter" as many call it, the mouth piece and stated "cheerleader" for Columbia County broke the news, claiming that Mr. Hunter's new salary was $85k plus a car and perks.

The LCR stated, "Hunter beat out two other finalists for the post..."

Well known to Lake City's daily paper, both other candidates withdrew, giving him the position by default.


In the economic development world, Columbia County is well known as the County to stay away from.

This good ole' boy coup gives the economic development community more proof that when it comes to economic development, as in most other things involving The 5, it is the pedigree, not the degree that counts.

Once again, a snicker and a smirk are the order of the day in Columbia County, home of the infamous Columbia County 5.


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