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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida/Tri-County News

SVTA:  County Commissioners Nash and Bashaw Vote to Cover-Up Hijacked Minutes

LIVE OAK, FL – COLUMBIA, HAMILTON, SUWANNEE – The Tri-County Local Coordinating Board (LCB) for the Suwannee Valley Transit Authority is a board which provides advice to the Suwannee Valley Transit Authority (SVTA). The LCB is composed of one County Commissioner from each of the three counties and is advised by the North Central Regional Planning Council (NCFRPC), which is under contract from the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged. The Planning Council, besides being the state's eyes and ears for the SVTA, also prepares reports and the LCB minutes. Yesterday morning, the LCB met for its quarterly meeting. On its agenda was the approval of the hijacked LCB August minutes.

Background: August 12, 2015


At the August 12, 2015, LCB meeting, Commissioner Bashaw sat with a name card announcing him as the Chair. He wasn't. DOT's Sandra Collins is to Mr. Bashaw's left.

On August 12, 2015, the Local Coordinating Board met for its quarterly meeting. The Planning Council was in attendance. Columbia County Commissioner, Sylvester "Bucky" Nash chaired the meeting. Commissioner Nash had been LCB Chair for the prior three years. The agenda called for the LCB to recommend a chairperson to the Planning Council.

Before the meeting, the Planning Council prepared and handed out name cards. Chairman Nash's card gave his name and his position, "Chair." Suwannee County Commissioner Jason Bashaw's name card also showed Commissioner Bashaw as the "Chair."

The Planning Council told a few Board members that questioned Mr. Bashaw's designation as "Chair" that it was a mistake.

The Planning Council didn't cross out the Chair designation on Mr. Bashaw's name card. Commissioner Nash didn't; Sandra Collins, the DOT representative, who subsequently nominated Mr. Bashaw for the Chairman's spot didn't, and Mr. Bashaw didn't.

Chairman Nash opened the floor for nominations. DOT's Collins barely let Mr. Nash finish speaking before she nominated Mr. Bashaw. After a couple of brief comments, without giving any one time for any other nominations, Chairman Nash called for the vote. Mr. Bashaw received 9 votes for and 3 against.

Citizen Board member LJ Johnson objected to Commissioner Nash's not asking for any other nominations before asking for the vote.

Another Election – Another Candidate – The Same Position

After Mr. Johnson's objection, Commissioner Nash asked if there were any other nominations. Mr. Johnson nominated Commissioner Nash. The nomination was seconded and another election and a second vote were had, this time for Mr. Nash. Not surprisingly, the vote was reversed 3-9, the same folks voting the same way.

The Minutes: They are supposed to explain what really happened

The minutes are prepared by the Planning Council. The minutes, rather than stating what really happed, claimed that the motion by which Bashaw was nominated and subsequently elected, was amended. That was not true.

On October 22, 2015, the Executive Committee of the Planning Council met. One of the items on its agenda was the approval to include Executive Director Scott Koon's recommendation of Mr. Bashaw for Chairman. Director Koons said he was basing his recommendation on that of the LCB.


LCB's Sandra Buck-Camp makes a point at the Nov. 18 meeting.

LCB Board members Sandra Buck-Camp and Ralph Kitchens appeared before the Executive Committee and explained that the August 12th minutes were wrong. Scott Koons said the minutes were correct. Bradford County's Daniel Riddick, Starke's Carolyn Spooner, and Dixie County's Lorene Thomas asked questions of Ms. Buck-Camp and Mr. Kitchens. They explained that there were two separate elections for the same position and that the motion was not amended, as the August minutes claimed.

The Planning Council's Executive Committee members voted unanimously to pull the recommendation from the Planning Council's consent agenda and to send the question of the LCB's recommendation for chair back to the LCB.

Yesterday's LCB Meeting

Executive Director Koons explained that the Board members had to vote whether or not to approve the August 12 minutes as written. He did not mention that Board members could abstain. He did not explain the reason that they were rejected by the Planning Council's Executive Committee or that LCB members, Ms. Buck-Camp and Mr. Kitchens appeared before the committee.

Mr. Koons said every member of the Board had to vote, even those that did not attend and didn't know what occurred.

Your reporter asked Mr. Koons how the Board members that were not at the August 12 LCB meeting could vote to approve something they didn't see.


Suwannee Cnty Com., Jason Bashaw, and Columbia Cnty Com., Bucky Nash, voted not to correct the minutes.

After some discussion, there was a motion to amend the minutes in order to accurately portray what transpired at the August 12 meeting.

Nine Board members voted to amend the minutes, i.e., correct them. Of those nine, Hamilton County's Commissioner, Beth Burnam, voted to correct the minutes.

Voting not to correct the minutes, i.e., leaving the minutes as they were – wrong, were County Commissioners Nash (Columbia) and Bashaw (Suwannee). They were joined by two other Board members.

Epilogue

Yesterday's LCB meeting was well attended. Committee members are paying attention, getting involved and asking questions about the SVTA, which survives on a sea of cash provided by the American people.

Commissioner Nash ran relaxed open meetings, giving everyone the ability to participate, board and non-board members alike.

The new Chairman, Jason Bashaw, appears to run meetings with the same style, which is good for everyone.

However, the now undisputed fact that both Commissioners Bashaw and Nash voted to approve a set of hijacked and clearly wrong minutes should put the members of the various boards and counties that they represent on alert.

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