Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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CareerSource Florida Crown, Budget Reduced 2/3 Over 15 yrs: "We're Doing More With Less"  

Florida Crown Executive Director, Robert Jones. "We're doing more with less."

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL –  Tuesday afternoon, March 8, CareerSource Florida Crown met for its quarterly board meeting. Board members from the 4 county region: Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, and Union, as well as staff members, met to receive an update on its budget, review the FY 2015 Audit, and discuss its new hours of operation. Operating with 2/3 less money than it did in 2001, Florida Crown continues to serve a 4 county area with enthusiasm and dedication while the region remains a Rural Area of Critical Economic Concern (RACEC).

Florida Crown's Robert Jones, a Lake City native, has been with the agency since October 1998 and has been the Executive Director since July 2013.

In 2001, Florida Crowns' budget was $5,156,000. The 2016 budget is $1,675,000, a $3,481,000 reduction.

Executive Director Jones told the Observer, "We're doing more with less."

Agency Performance and Finances

Florida Crown continues to be one of the top performing CareerSource agencies of the twenty-four in the state.

For 5 days in February, Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) audited 183 FL Crown participant case files. Of these files, which Program Director Anna Mendoza explained, "can be easily 200 pages," DEO found only one finding, in which one job order was missing a case note to verify the job seeker's placement.

Running a CareerSource agency is a complicated matter. This graphic shows the number of job orders and referrals for 2015.

Ms. Mendoza told the Observer, "In that program year we had 1007 job orders and over 13,000 referrals."

DEO  picked up ten other technical violations which ranged from missing case notes; failing to provide a short-range occupational goal; and providing one work specific job search activity.

Ms. Mendoza said that FL Crown maintains thousands of files and told your reporter, "I am pleased with the results. It shows we are diligent in following the established guidelines and procedures. Of course, we are always striving for zero errors."

The AUDIT: "No current findings"

Richard Powell

External Auditor Richard Powell, of Powell & Jones, presented the 2015 audit.

Mr. Powell told the Board, "A Workforce Board has a very intricate accounting system... Financially, you had a successful year. There are no current findings."

Director Jones, the former Finance Director, told the Observer, "Keeping track of our funding sources and allocations is complicated. It has always been a priority."

New Hours Are a Success

A recent change in the law requires Workforce Boards to provide extended hours.

Ex. Dir. Jones reported, "On several occasions, I've looked in the resource room after five o'clock to see if anyone was taking advantage of our new office hours -- a lot of people are. We have quite a few people that come in and you can tell some of them are individuals that are working and looking for a better job. They are wearing name tags or reflective vests."

Director Jones continued, "It's really been a benefit. Some of the people that wanted to use our services and couldn't, now can. This was a change in the law that was a good idea."

CareerSource Florida Crown is open Monday through Thursday 8 am to 6 pm, and Friday 8 am to 12 noon.

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