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Columbia County Observer

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The County 5: Special Treatment for Themselves is Nothing New in the Bucky Nash - Ben Scott Era

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – The resolution canceling tonight's July 6 regularly scheduled County 5 meeting appeared on the June 15 consent agenda. There was no memo from anyone with any explanation for canceling the meeting, which was scheduled seven months ago. Your reporter, also a resident, asked for the resolution to be pulled for discussion. The request was ignored by Chairman Ronald Williams.

Those at the meeting were witness to more Abbott & Costello moments as the The 5, the County Manager, and the County Attorney did a Columbia County run around to keep from revealing which of the County 5 asked that the meeting be canceled.


The County Charter, the law of the County, calls for the County 5 to approve by resolution, the meeting schedule for the coming year. County records indicate that while there was a resolution passed on December 15, 2016, setting the year's meeting schedule, this had not been done since at least 2011.

During the reign of County Manager Dale Williams, while yearly resolutions were not passed, the record indicates that meetings were not canceled for the convenience of individual commissioners, but rescheduled, which happened in 2012 and 2013.

In 2013, the regularly scheduled meeting fell on July 4. Rather than cancel the meeting, The 5 took care of the County business at the rescheduled July 2 meeting. There was no talk of travel time or any excuses to cancel the meeting.

See: County 5 Reschedule Board Meeting On Night of Lake Shore Hosp Auth Budget Hearing: Why?

or: The County 5: Another Last Minute Change to the Meeting Schedule

Nash – Scott Reign

In 2014, the Nash – Scott reign officially began with the last minute County Commission meeting cancelations for junkets and other reasons.

June 15, 2017
Meeting 'Stuff' at The 5

The June 5 meeting kicked off with elected County Attorney Joel Foreman presenting a laundry list of items to be either added to the agenda or removed from the consent agenda for discussion.

Your reporter, also a resident, asked that the consent agenda item canceling tonight's meeting be pulled for discussion, telling The 5, "It shouldn't be on the consent agenda. There is no reason why the meeting is being canceled. I want it pulled [for discussion]."

Chairman Williams ignored the request and asked that the consent agenda be approved, which it was.

County Attorney Foreman was silent.

Twenty-Five Minutes Later
Chairman Williams Sought Legal Counsel

Twenty-five minutes later Chairman Williams asked County Attorney Foreman, "I have no need to pull number 2 [4] because Mr. Lilker can discuss that in the 5 minute comment. Am I correct?"

Mr. Foreman agreed.

Your reporter said, "I want the board to discuss it."

The 5 had just approved canceling tonight's July 6 meeting.

Commissioner Williams said they would discuss it.

County Attorney Foreman, ignoring that the cancelation of the meeting had not been added to the discussion items, said to Com. Williams, "You asked for a motion to approve the agenda as amended. That's already been taken."

Five minutes later, your reporter came to the microphone and addressed the meeting cancelation, "You have on the consent agenda that you are canceling a county commission meeting. I don't know why that's on the consent agenda. There is no reason in the backup why it is being canceled. When something is on the consent agenda, all you have to do is approve it."

The comment was ignored. The county transacted other business.

Almost 20 minutes later, Chairman Williams asked County Manager Ben Scott to explain the meeting cancelation.

Mr. Scott told The 5: "From time to time commissioners do come and ask staff if there is a possibility of canceling a meeting so they can do travel or various other things during that week. And I was asked by a couple of commissioners if we could cancel that meeting and I informed them I would have to put it on the agenda. And that is the reason we prepared this resolution to cancel that meeting."

Chairman Williams asked for a motion to approve the resolution canceling the meeting.

Your reporter said, "It was never pulled from the consent agenda. You already passed it."

Commissioner Williams said, "It's on the consent agenda. You asked why. Ben explained why. Now I have to call for a motion to ratify his resolution [the resolution to cancel the meeting, which was already approved].

Your reporter asked, "Didn't we just approve the consent agenda?"

Commissioner Williams asked for a motion to adopt the resolution, "Is there a motion to adopt Resolution number 2017R-16?"

Commissioner Nash made the motion to cancel tonight's meeting. He didn't reveal if he was one of The 5 who asked that the meeting be canceled.

The 2 Minute Comment

Your reporter told The 5: "The resolution that the county commissioners are taking off. I've never heard before of a meeting being canceled for travel time and I've been coming to these meetings for about 10 years, that's the first time.  I've heard for junkets; I've heard for the FAC, but I never heard for travel time... I'd like to know who, which county commissioners want to travel...  I'd like to know who they are.


At the conclusion of your reporter's comments the meeting was adjourned without delay. Commissioner Nash scrambled to the exit, as some members of the audience snickered at the double vote on the travel-time / meeting cancelation resolution.

Today, as the County workers work, at least two of Columbia County's Royal 5 are off somewhere – traveling.

The Columbia County 5: the legend continues.

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