Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida Gov looking to keep jobs in Florida
Columbia County looking to send them away

While Florida Governor Rick Scott is looking to create jobs in Florida, the good ole boys of the Columbia County Commission are working to ship them to South Carolina.

Under the leadership of Jack Berry protégé, Jody DuPree, the county has gone into secrecy mode and public meetings have become a travesty. Questions aren't allowed and the county has now begun placing most items on a diminishing consent agenda, enabling the county commissioners to decide what is going to happen before hand without the necessity of public discussion.

Tonight's agreement with Ing Consulting Group (Ing), a company in South Carolina, fits the bill.

Ing is a company, whose web presence is boiler plate mumbo jumbo and whose President dissolved his last firm, Tax Research and Recovery, in April 2009.

In May of 2007, the Texas District & County Attorneys Association posted a message from one of its members:

Our county received a proposed agreement from a company called Tax Research and Recovery, Inc. They offer to go through our files to try and create savings from excise taxes, and say that the only payment will be 40% of whatever is saved. I'm sure some of your counties have received this same letter.

in November 2008, with Inglis' Tax Research and Recovery shortly to be dissolved, Ing Consulting Group was incorporated. This is the firm that is on tonight's consent agenda and the one that County Manager, Dale Williams and Board Chairman, Jody DuPree are recommending be approved by consent.

What does Ing Consulting Group do?

According to their web site this is what they do:

Ing Consulting Group partners with clients and strategic partners to deliver unique and innovative customized solutions to provide tremendous financial benefits for our clients and strategic partners.  The firm is currently contacting a variety of potential strategic partners and prospective clients to develop several innovative and distinctively different programs and strategies.  Each one of these programs and strategies are completely unique and different from any service previously developed by this company, any other firm, or other companies previously owned by the company owner and CEO.

Ing Consultant Group is really nothing more than a collection agency, or so it appears.

Edgar Inglis, the President Chairman and CEO of the new Ing Consulting Group claims to have been "serving as the Chairman and Chief Executive of several corporations, as well as general manager, treasurer, and senior accounting manager positions of several corporations." There is nothing to substantiate these claims.

To see the three pages, the letters and contract, that are on the consent agenda and have been submitted by the County Manager and approved by Commissioner DuPree, go here.

According to a letter, dated January 28, 2011, from Mr. Inglis to County Manager, Dale Williams, Mr. Inglis claims that his firm saved over $100,000,000 for its clients, which represents a savings of $44,000,000 a year during the time Ing has been incorporated.

Typical for Columbia County, there is nothing presented in the record of County Manager Williams asking for any proof of this.

On January 28, 2011, Mr. Inglis also sent another letter to CM Williams, in which he claimed to have spoken to "Judy," who is apparently Judy Lewis, the internal auditor who works for DeWitt Cason, Clerk of the Courts. In Florida the Clerk of the Courts and his internal auditor are supposed to represent the "checks and balances" of good government.

Confidential sources say that they have never seen an internal audit by internal auditor, Judy Lewis. Ms. Lewis' job description disappeared from her personnel file in or about 1994 and none showed up until 2009. Her boss during the entire period was and is P. DeWitt Cason, the same Clerk of the Courts.

It is unclear if Ms. Lewis checked any of the claims of Mr. Inglis, or indeed ever spoke with him, as Mr. Inglis' claim that Ms. Lewis advised him that his contract would be added to the "council meeting on February 24th" is suspect. The County Commission [council] never meets on the fourth Thursday of the month. This is clearly something that a long time employee should have known.

According to the proposed contract between Ing and the County, all Freedom of Information requests "require notice to the Firm" and everything else borders on top secret.

Unlike the 40% that Mr. Inglis' old firm collected, he as upped the ante for Columbia County to 50% for his South Carolina firm.

It is business as usual in Columbia County. 

Barbara Jeffords contributed to this story.

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

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