Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Commissioners Nash & Murphy: On June 15th, They Didn't Come Clean, They Still Haven't

Commissioners Nash and Murphy headed to Palm Beach on the County dime the week before the July 4th holiday. Neither on June 15, nor during the July 20 meeting, did they report that they had attended the FL Assoc. of Counties meeting in Palm Beach.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – During the June 15, 2017 meeting of the County 5, a resolution was buried in the evening's consent agenda canceling the long scheduled July 6 meeting of The 5. The week before, two County Commissioners had petitioned the County Manager to cancel the meeting because it interfered with their personal plans. On June 15, none of the players would come clean and admit who they were. See: The County 5: Special Treatment for Themselves is Nothing New in the Bucky Nash - Ben Scott Era


As reported on June 15, County Manager Ben Scott explained the request for the cancellation of the July 6 regularly scheduled Board meeting: "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."

Further on, it was reported that Commissioner Nash made the motion to cancel the July 6 meeting and that he didn't reveal if he had asked that the meeting be canceled. Commissioner Murphy, as well as Chairman Williams voted in favor of the resolution canceling the meeting.

It was also reported that your reporter, who is also a resident, asked who the two commissioners were who wanted the meeting canceled.

Neither of the three commissioners present, nor County Manager Scott answered. It is not clear if Commissioner Williams knew who the two were.

County Manager Scott's Claim

Mr. Scott's claim that, "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" is interesting.

In the 5 years between July 2012 and July 2016, meetings during the week of July 4 had only been canceled for that week on two occasions, while the record is silent on "travel and other things."

Florida Association of Counties

According to County Manager Ben Scott, three commissioners attended the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) meeting in Palm Beach County (June 27-30): Murphy, Nash, and Williams.

The Tourist Dev. Council (TDC)

On July 19, 2017, the TDC met. Commissioners DePratter and Williams sit on that board.

Commission Rusty DePratter told the Observer, "I don't want you to think I asked for the July 6 meeting to be canceled. I was ready to work and go to that meeting."

When asked if he was available to attend the July 6 County 5 meeting, Commissioner Ronald Williams told the Observer, "It wasn't me. I was available and ready to attend."

A few days later, your reporter spoke with Commissioner Everett Phillips, who had been recovering from a fall off a ladder. Commissioner Phillips told your reporter that he was still recovering from his accident and was not traveling during the week of July 4th.

Epilogue: The Process of Elimination

That leaves Commissioners Nash and Murphy who decided to not show up for work on July 6 at a job which they were elected to do, represent the people.

The Nash-Murphy no show backed up County business until July 20, leaving the rest of the Board and the public to have to review over a thousand pages of back up material in order to get up to speed for that meeting.

Columbia County, Florida: the legend continues.

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