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  • Transcript: Lake Shore Hospital Authority (LSHA) -- Regular Meeting
  • Date:  October 6, 2008 – Approximately 5:25 p.m.
  • Subject: Various Questions to the Authority Chairman
  • Speakers:
  •       Mr. Jack Berry:  Chairman, LSHA, Appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush
  •       Mr. Stewart Lilker:  Editor/pub -- ColumbiaCountyObserver.com; Resident and Property owner
  •       Mr. Marlin Feagle:  Attorney for the LSHA


(The following conversation took place during the public comment portion of the LSHA monthly meeting)

MR. LILKER:  (Mr. Lilker, recalled the September 15th budget hearing when he asked about the plans for the old jail, now known as the administrative complex. Mr. Lilker recalled he asked when they were going to have the plans for the rest of the building and that the Chairman, Mr. Berry replied, “As soon as the engineer was through with them.)

MR. LILKER:  I was wondering, are the plans ready tonight?

MR. BERRY:  We have them ready.

MR. LILKER:  When was it discussed what you were going to do in that building?

MR. BERRY:  A couple of meeting ago.

MR. LILKER:  When you asked, nobody knew. Did you decide what the conference room is going to be like or who is going to be there?

MR. BERRY:  These are all preliminary plans; they haven’t been approved yet.

MR. LILKER:  So there’s no finalized plans?

MR. BERRY:  No sir.

MR. LILKER:  But my question sir is this, when were the plans discussed, so we know what the plans look like. Who discussed them? I come to these meetings ...

MR. BERRY:  We have at a public meeting here, Mr. Lilker.

MR. LILKER:  I must have missed that then. Is that right?

MR. BERRY:  Must have.

MR. LILKER:  Thank you. Do you recall the date of that meeting, Mr. Berry?

MR. BERRY:  No, I don’t.

MR. LILKER:  Thank you. But I did ask, and  I said, “That nothing is finalized and you really don’t know how much it is going to cost yet, to get that done.” And you said, “No sir.” Do you have any idea how much that is going to cost, now?


MR. LILKER:  I would just remind this board, if they look at Washington DC, lately, and the financial condition that this country is in, that you really do have to follow the money. I would suggest to you sir, that it is irresponsible to the working families of this county, that you are spending a million dollars of county taxpayer money and after all these months you and this board still don’t know how you are spending the money, or what you are spending it on. I was just wondering if you have any idea, when you are going to know?

MR. BERRY:  To answer your question sir, the plans are complete and the budget’s in place.

MR. LILKER:  Thank you.

MR. LILKER:  Later on at the budget hearing [2008_0915] we did determine after I listened to Mr. Powell that there was a whole bunch of money in the bank. And I asked him, “Can you tell me what plans you have for that .516 mils and why are you collecting it with all the money you have in reserve?” And you said, “Because if  we spend all of our reserve money. Then if something happened where we needed money, it takes a year to collect it. We have to keep a certain amount of money in reserve.”

 Now I’m a little confused and maybe you could help me. I’ve seen this board put away hundreds of thousands of dollars in CD’s. I’ve heard Mr. Powell say that, “We’re not going to need the money...” So, why are we collecting tax dollars if we have all this money in the bank and say we don’t need it and Mr. Powell says we don’t need it? I still don’t understand that.

(Berry gives a cold stare and glances down at his watch)

MR. LILKER:  It’s my money, so I’m just curious. I’m trying to follow the money, Mr. Chairman.

MR. BERRY:  I’m not answering anymore of your questions, Mr. Lilker.


MR. BERRY:  Nope.

MR. LILKER:  OK. Then I have another question. We’ll just put it out there, because it is my money. Can you tell me how I can get an answer to these questions, Mr. Chairman?

MR. BERRY:  File a public records request in writing and I will answer it in writing, to you.

MR. LILKER:  This is a matter of great public concern. In the last budget we have an auditing fee and this has nothing to do with Mr. Powell, who I really like, but I’m a little concerned about the auditing fees. We have an audit fee of six thousand dollars and then we have nine thousand dollars tacked on there additionally. “Additionally, hourly services, billed as incurred, including $2000 allowance for unforeseen additional services.”

 I’m a little confused and maybe you can help me? Mr. Powell of Powell and Jones is a highly respected auditing, accounting firm in Florida. But I’m a little confused of how we have the auditor doing the books and sitting in at all these meetings and getting $9,000 additional; why it is and we’ve all heard of Enron and all these things, that we have the auditor checking his own work, for $9,000 apparently, additional a year. I would think that would be an arms length transaction. Arthur Anderson you might recall, did the books for Enron and Arthur Anderson is no more. You might also recall if you listen to the news, Mr. Chairman, the country is now at least a trillion dollars in debt, because no one was watching the store. Of course, I’m not accusing Mr. Powell of anything, but I would like to know how this board can have the auditor and the accountant as the same person?

(Pause – Chairman Berry is unresponsive) and clearly you do because you’re paying for it.

 Can you answer that question? Anybody on the board?

THE BOARD:  (All are unresponsive.)

MR. LILKER:  I know your looking at your watch (to Mr. Berry) But anybody on the board can answer that question? Mr. Feagle, you want to jump in?

MR. FEAGLE: All the questions go through the chair.

MR. LILKER:  Mr. Chairman is anybody allowed to answer any of these questions at these meetings?

MR. BERRY:  If they’re free, white and over twenty-one.

MR. LILKER:  I’m sorry sir?

MR. BERRY:  If they’re free and over twenty-one.

MR. LILKER:  If they’re free, white and over twenty-one, you said.

MR. BERRY:  Mr. Lilker, you’re time is up.

MR. LILKER:  Thank you Mr. Chairman.)