Lake Shore Hosp Auth: Authority Manager Berry Keeps Authority Out of Compliance
Posted November 10, 2014 03:25 pm
Manager Jack Berry
COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Tonight at 5:15 pm the Lake Shore Hospital Authority meets for its monthly meeting. Available online, for the first time in the history of this secretive special district, is the complete agenda and the agenda packet, which contains the printed material that the Governor Scott appointed board uses in its decision making process.
The Authority's day to day operations are run by former Republican operative, "repo man", and Authority Board Chairman, Jackson P. "Jack" Berry.
The rules governing Florida's Special Districts require that the Authority's agendas "shall be published" on its website 7 days in advance of its meetings. The Lake Shore Hospital Authority appears to have never been in compliance. The Observer has compiled the information and made it available. The complete agenda packet is also available for the first time.
Slated for action on the docket tonight are four items. The Board has received the supporting information for this. Digging in its heels for years, the Authority Board has supported Manager Berry in his efforts to run the Authority like a secret society. While the Authority has the ability and technology to post this information to its website, it refuses.
A New Server: Action Item Number 2
Action Item number 2 is for the purchase of a new server: the cost $13,768. IT companies abound. There is only one quote. The Authority Purchasing Policy requires 3 for any purchase over $10,000. Manager Berry, who is in charge of purchasing for the Authority is well aware of this and could have published a request for proposals on Demand Star or posted a notice on the Authority website. He did not.
The Observer has received a copy of an inquiry from a Lake City vendor, which includes a response from Manager Berry. The vendor asked: "I would like to know where you send your rfq’s [Request for Qualification] so I can bid this for you. Our corporate offices are in Lake City."
After the vendor responded with the address, Manager Berry asked, "Are you on the State of Florida Contract List?"
There is one quote provided for the Authority contract: JEO, Inc. After a check of the State Vendor List did not reveal JEO to be on the State of Florida Contract list, DMS (Department of Management Services) was contacted. An employee of DMS was unable to locate JEO on the list.
Action Item number 3 is "Update web page." It is not clear what this is; if it is going to cost money; who is going to do it; or what the proposal is. There is no supporting information provided. This is business as usual at the Authority. The Authority Board is slated to act on something and has effectively denied the public its lawful right to comment on this item.
The last item for action is the kind of action that has made Columbia County a legend in its own time and most recently had a Federal Judge comparing Columbia County to Peyton Place.
County Attorney-elect, Joel Foreman
Hospital Authority Attorney:
Action Item Number 4
During its October 13, 2014 regular meeting, long time Hospital Authority Attorney, Marlin Feagle, announced that he would not be looking to renew his contract. Attorney Feagle announced that he was retiring. Mr. Feagle is the Attorney for the County Commission; the County Zoning Board; the Hospital Authority; and Florida Gateway College. He also has a thriving local private practice.
The Authority October 13 minutes state: Mr. Feagle announced retirement from Board. Term ends January 5, 2015. Mr. Feagle will not re-new contract with LSHA. Mr. Feagle will help with procedures on hiring new Attorney for Board. Mr. Berry will begin working on this.
It appears from tonight's agenda that Mr. Berry has finished working on this. In the agenda packet material is information from three local attorneys: County Attorney-elect Joel Foreman's law firm, Foreman, McInnis & Associates; Koberlein Law Offices, which has locations in Gainesville and Lake City; and Attorney Lloyd E. Peterson, Jr., who states that he shared office space with Mr. Feagle for 25 years.
The Board is scheduled to take action tonight.
Other than Action Item no. 1, which is a request to change the Authority's telephone service from AT&T to Comcast, items numbered 2, 3, and 4 raise more questions than they answer.
This is business as usual in the Jackson P. "Jack" Berry run Lake Shore Hospital Authority.