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Columbia County Observer

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Columbia County

Columbia County 5: Agenda by PowerPoint
More Wacky Gov't From FL's Good Ole' Boys

The Columbia County 5 from left to right: Commissioners Ronald Williams;
Rusty DePratter; Bucky Nash; Everett Phillips; Scarlet Frisina

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Columbia County's infamous County Commission (The County 5, or The 5) is once again at the forefront of Florida wacky government. Not to be outshined by the Florida Legislature, this morning's 9 am Budget Workshop has been classified as a special meeting. This accomplishes two tasks for the County 5: It keeps working families out of the meeting, unable to witness their elected officials at work; more importantly, it keeps the public from commenting on the actions of The 5, a right which has been recently guaranteed by the Florida legislature.

The County 5 agenda is assembled by the County Manager and approved by the County Chairman. This year's County chairman is District 2 commissioner, Rusty DePratter.

This morning's workshop agenda lists 15 items for discussion:

• Road Improvement Needs/Options
• Stormwater Mitigation
• Library Funding
• Administrative Space Needs
• Detention Center Repair/Replacement
• Economic Development
• Policy Development
• Communications System Improvements
• Recreation Enhancements
• Tourist Development Tax
• Proposed Reorganization Plan
• Financial Management Director
• Ellisville Development
• 9-1-1 Mapping Change
• Code Enforcement Magistrate

The explanation by the County of these items is: "Continued Discussion (with possible action) of April 30, 2015 Workshop Topics."

Short of using a crystal ball, no one would know what any "possible action" might be from looking at the agenda.

April 30, 2015: the minutes


In the civilized world one could look at the minutes of the April 30, 2015 budget workshop and discover which items required "continued discussion (with possible action)," but not in the land of The County 5.

Years ago, the Clerk of the Courts, P. DeWitt Cason, was strong armed by the county management into changing the County's once complete minutes to minimalist, which now give barely more than the law requires, motions and votes. Real minutes made The 5 and the County Staff look bad. It was easier to change the minutes, than to change their ways.

The April 30 minutes give up nothing. The requested action regarding "Code Enforcement Magistrate," by newly elected County Attorney, Joel Foreman, is particularly uninstructive: "County Attorney Joel Foreman suggested a need to do some restructuring in this department..."

The County audio of this meeting more often than not sounds like an underwater recording from "Sea Hunt," the original scuba diving show.

Every year or two The 5 promise to fix the audio, but always come up with an excuse to do nothing. Sitting on tens of millions in reserves, they refuse to upgrade their microphones. Lavaliere microphones would be the perfect fix, but certain commissioners, long time Commissioner Ronald Williams in particular, just don't want to be heard.

Agenda by PowerPoint

Dispersed throughout the County Staff's PowerPoint presentation one can find the word "motion" twenty-three times. Sixteen times the request for a motion is followed by a "?". Seven times it is preceded by the word, "recommended."

Not one "recommended motion" found its way on to the morning's agenda.


At the barest minimum the "recommended motions" should have been on the agenda so that the public had some idea of what Florida's infamous County 5 were up to, besides back room deals and keeping the public in the dark.

Chairman Rusty DePratter could have seen to that. He didn't.

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