Lake Shore Hosp Authority
ignores Berry's contract
Is Berry's signature worth the paper it is written on?
Columbia County, FL (Posted Nov 9, 2010 12:59 pm)
Last night's Lake Shore Hospital Authority meeting proved once again that when it comes to paying attention to the contract of a Columbia County good old boy, all bets are off. Former Republican chieftain, Jack Berry, who back-doored himself into a part-time position paying 60 + thousand dollars a year for 24 hrs a week, is now looking to go on the public dole full-time.
Time will tell if good old boy Berry's signature is worth the paper it is written on.
As reported earlier, Mr. Berry had broached this topic at the last meeting. No one on the Board made any comment at that time.
As last night's meeting wound down, the topic was brought up again, this time under new business.
Mr. Berry told the Board: "We brought it up at the last meeting. If the Board wishes me to go full time, I am available for full-time employment. If the Board wishes me to stay like it is - that's your choice too."
Mr. Berry continued: "I would like to go full-time because I think there's enough work there to keep me rather busy. We started some new construction projects at the Hospital, which the Authority Manager certainly needs to stay on top of. We've got the upcoming community presentations... It would give me more time to investigate possible fraud cases - and there is some. So, what is the pleasure of the Board?"
Mr. Berry's request is in clear violation of his contract.
Mr. Berry's request is in clear violation of his contract - a contract that he signed.
Mr. Berry told new board member Stephen Douglas that he is under contract to work 24 hours a week.
Mr. Berry then explained it this way: "I am requesting to go full time - till April 15th, which at that time the position will be reviewed and decide what the board wants to do at that point."
The contract that everyone, except board member Audre' Washington has conveniently ignored states the following relevant language:
Subject to the other terms and conditions of this Agreement, the Authority employs Berry to serve at [as] its Authority Manager for an initial term of one (1) year to commence April 15, 2010. Berry confirms his acceptance of such employment... and agrees to ... the duties and powers enumerated herein.
Mr. Berry knew what he was doing
According to his contract, Mr. Berry agreed to put in as much time as the Authority needed:
Berry acknowledges that the proper performance of the Authority Manager's duties will often require the performance of necessary services outside of normal business hours. Berry agrees to devote such additional time as is necessary... and that the compensation provided includes compensation for the performance of such services. Berry will devote such time and effort... during the term of this Agreement as may be necessary... but in no event less than 24 hours per week... Berry shall attend Authority meetings, committee meetings, and other meetings which are required by the Authority Board.
Mr. Berry's lack of expertise squanders grant opportunity
Mr. Berry's contract calls for him to, "Seek grant funding opportunities and supervise preparation of grant applications to further Authority goals."
Mr. Berry's recent 12th hour attempt at a LIP grant application highlighted his inexperience and lack of attention to detail. This grant, if awarded, would have enabled both UF Primary Health Care Clinics to stay open another year, putting into question once again Mr. Berry's lack of real public sector experience and hospital administrative experience.
Mr. Berry explained to the Board that he ran out of time to apply for the grant. The process of obtaining the necessary data could have begun years ago, when he was the Board Chairman, if he knew what he was doing.
Richard Powell, the Authority's inside-outside-auditor-financial advisor-external auditor (all one person), was clearly knowledgeable about the statics and demographic analysis necessary to apply for grants, as far back as the late nineties and possibly well before that.
Mr. Berry's contract calls for annual reviews
Mr. Berry's contract calls for annual reviews, however, in the language challenged world of the legendary Columbia County good old boys - anything goes once again.
Mr. Berry's contract states: "The Authority may annually review the performance of Berry. Upon a favorable evaluation of Berry's performance during the preceding year... the Authority may... grant Berry a salary adjustment ... [which] shall be effective on the first day of the next Authority fiscal year..."
The next Authority fiscal year begins on October 1, 2011, a point well known by all on the Authority Board.
There are three other LSHA employees. None has received a raise this year.
These are very difficult times for the working families of Columbia County, a fact that appears to be of no consequence to good old boy Berry and some of his cronies on the Governor's appointed Colombia County LSHA Board.