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Czar Power: County 5 Chair Loads the Bases, Nash Out as Econ Dev Advisory Bd Chief

Appointments not revealed during final December meeting

Commissioners, left to right: Ronald Williams, Rusty DePratter, Sylvester "Bucky" Nash, Everett Phillips, Tim Murphy

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – On December 1, 2016, long time veteran County Commissioner Ronald Williams was elected to be the 2017 Columbia County 5 chairman. One of his first duties, other than taking over the gavel, was to appoint himself and the rest of The 5 to various Board committees, advisory boards, lobbying groups, etc. The County 5 follows no written appointment guidelines, nor is anything mentioned in the County's Administrative Code. Earlier today, County Manager Ben Scott acknowledged that it is "past practice" that guides the County 5 in its appointment endeavor.

Commissioner Nash is out of Econ Dev ++ enlarge

Outside of Columbia County, many local governments stay out of the "good ole' boy" back rooms and do their business in the sunlight.

In Columbia County, the Chair is not obligated to explain his/her appointments. The rest of The 5 do not have to approve the appointments, nor is the Chair obligated to ask for volunteers to serve on specific committees, although it is not clear if the conversation happens outside of public Board meetings.

None of the 5 has ever acknowledged any conversations regarding future Board decision making with their brethren outside of the Sunshine.

Columbia County's elected County Attorney Joel Foreman has no problem meeting with members of The 5 to discuss upcoming County business, and he encourages these discussions. Playing "post office," they come in one at a time to do an end run around the intent of Florida's Sunshine Law.

The Civilized World

The civilized world, away from the Homeless County 5, is not far away. It is a drive across the Santa Fe River into Alachua County.

In Alachua County the yearly appointment process works like this:

a) A listing of previous-year appointments will be disseminated to the County Commission in advance of the appropriate meeting so that each Commissioner can determine his or her interest in serving on various board committees.

b) If there is no nominee or no volunteer or more than one volunteer for a vacancy, the Chair will appoint a Commissioner to serve. The Commission shall ratify the appointments to boards and committees.

In the Land of the County 5

In the Land of the County, 5 the process works like this.

The County Chair, in this case, Commissioner Ronald Williams, sits down with the County Manager, in this case on December 15, goes over his appointments, and purportedly appoints who he feels like.

If there are Florida Statutes that govern the appointment, such as those for the Value Adjustment Board, they are just ignored by everybody.

The County appears not to maintain any type of matrix which shows the committee type, eligibility, term, or appointment authority.


On December 15, the County 5 met for its last meeting of the year. Commissioner Williams' appointments were made. During the Board meeting, no one revealed them.

The Columbia County 5: the legend continues.

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