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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake Shore Hosp Authority

Public Record Issues & Rudeness Continue to Plague the Lake Shore Hospital Authority in 2015

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – At its last meeting of the year, Governor Scott's Lake Shore Hospital Authority continued to be plagued by public record issues, the rudeness of its Manager, Jackson P. "Jack" Berry, and the "head in the sand" attitude of the Governor's hand-picked board.

For the Dec. 14 Meeting, Berry posted the agenda


The agenda: it gave the order of business

Plagued by constant failures to release its meeting agendas and supporting material, as required by the law, the Authority did something different this month: it posted its agenda to its website before its December 14 meeting.

While the business agenda was lacking in detail,  one was advised of the order of business. Toward the end of the meeting, after insulting everyone, Mr. Berry announced that for the next meeting all the material would be posted to the Authority website.

The Agenda Additions: "That's all we got."


Chairwoman Lory Chancy announces the agenda additions.

Twenty three seconds into the meeting Chairperson Chancy announced, "On the Consent Agenda, there are a few additions to that. Have you all gotten the copies?"

Your reporter asked, "Do you have a copy? I would like to see them."

Manger Berry said, "They’re on the podium."

The Observer asked, "The additions?"

Mr. Berry answered, "Yes?"

Your reporter went over to the podium and looked again.

The Observer, "They are not there. (looks some more) There is nothing [any additions] on the podium."

Mr. Berry responded, "It’s on the podium."

The Observer advised, "The Consent Agenda is, but not the additions."

Berry: (silence)

The Observer invited Mr. Berry to the podium, "You can have a look. They are not here."

Sonja Meads, Mr. Berry's executive assistant, said, "The Agenda and the Consent agenda is up there. I don’t know what he’s looking for."

Your reporter advised, "The additions. You just said there are additions."

Manager Berry to Ms. Meads, "Go over there and pick it up and give it to em’."

After it was discovered that there weren’t any "additions" on the podium, Mr. Berry remarked, "That’s all we got."

Ms. Meads repeated, "That’s all we got."

Your reporter followed up, "She just said there’s additions."

Manager Berry, referring to the agenda and consent agenda that were on the podium, said, "That is the additions."

Your reporter, held up the documents, "This is the additions? The one that says consent agenda, regular meeting?"

Ms. Chancy answered, "Yes."

Mr. Berry added, "The additions are on that one."

There was nothing added.

Finally, The Board added an incomprehensible budget amendment.


Richard Powell, auditor -- account -- financial advisor, for the Authority.

That document was provided after a few words with Board Attorney, Fred Koberlein.

The Authority's outside auditor – accountant – financial advisor (all one person), Richard Powell, explained the amendment. If he provided any meaningful detail to the Authority, he didn't do it at the meeting. The way his explanation juggled the numbers appeared to be of no concern to the Board or Manager Berry.

Citizen Ralph Kitchens Addressed the Board

Mr. Kitchens went to the podium, "My comment today, Mr. Berry, is in response to an email I received from you."


Ralph Kitchens, Transportation for the Disadvantaged Board member, addressed Mr. Berry.

Mr. Kitchens read from his laptop the email from Mr. Berry: "Since you have not responded to my email on 10/28/ 2015, I can only assume you can’t get your wheel chair nearer the computer where you no longer want the records sent and requested for Stew.  I am closing my file on this matter. If I can be of service to you in the future please let me know."

[Manager Berry was referring to your reporter, who didn't ask Mr. Kitchens to get any of the requested records]

Mr. Kitchens looked up from his computer, "I'm letting you know."

Mr. Berry, "OK."

Mr. Kitchens said, "First of all, I thought that fee was quite excessive, and I hadn’t got to it. I have other things that are just kinda (Berry interrupts).

Manager Berry, "Well it’s closed now. You can file new public records request. I gave you a quote. You did not respond in over 30 days and if I kept all of em’ open like that there’d be a stack on my desk at all times, and I’m gonna close em’ at 30 days."

Mr. Kitchens returned to his seat. "Thank you," he said.

There is nothing in the Authority's approved Public Record Request Procedures that allows for Mr. Berry to cancel public record requests.

Chairwoman Chancy said, "OK. Moving right along..."

A few moments later, Mr. Kitchens closed his laptop, looked at your reporter and said, "#@! I can't take this anymore. I’m outa’ here."

After the meeting, Mr. Kitchens told your reporter, "Mr. Berry has a bad attitude and his disrespect and bullying should be addressed by his bosses, the Lake Shore Hospital Board. His remarks about the wheel chair were out of line. I represent the disabled on the Transportation Board. I wanted to ask [Chairwoman] Lory Chancy if she endorsed his behavior, but when I don’t feel welcome, I generally don’t hang around."


Manager Jack Berry explains that "any idiot" can find the budget.

The Staff Report: "Any idiot"

Chairwoman Chancy announced the Staff Report.

Manager Berry remarked about the upgraded website, which was the first time all year he publicly announced that the website was being upgraded, keeping both the public and the Board out of the loop.

When Ms. Chancy asked if any of the Board members had seen the redesigned website, only one board member indicated that he had.

Manager Berry told the Board, "Just one thing. We have completed the website upgrade. You can now get all information on the website and I think it’s very simple to use. I believe any idiot can find a budget on it."

Epilogue

All of the Board members are Governor Scott appointees. None objected to Manager Berry's characterization.

Comments  (to add a comment go here)

On Dec. 24, 2015, Lake City's Sandra Buck-Camp wrote:

I have attended numerous LSHA Board Meetings in the past two years.

During these meetings, Jack Berry portrays himself as omnipotent in all matters as the only knowledgeable authority of each matter about which he responds.

 Further, he bullies verbally and conveys active disdain to questions posed by citizens who fund his department, salaries and benefits from Columbia County Tax Assessments.

Jack Berry lacks common respect and decency toward the taxpayers of Columbia County in his alleged fulfillment of his appointment.

I personally have heard him discussing LSHA matters during breakfast with other citizens in disparaging tones and making personal slurs against individuals, or 'idiots" or 'yahoos', as Berry calls taxpayers, who sought to have general agenda questions answered.

I am amazed Jack Berry continues in the position he holds.

Apparently, Governor Scott has no immediate oversight of his appointees, for the continuation of the Berry appointment is a reflection of his judgment and thus his administration.

Respectfully,
Sandra Buck-Camp

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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The medical building on the right is LSHA property, and leased by the Hospital. For the most part, the sidewalks are inaccessible, with the wheelchair bound and those with walkers being forced into the city streets.