Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida Crown's harassment continues
The Columbia County Commission Position
(Part II)

County Manager (“CM”) Dale Williams explained some of the Columbia County Manager Dale WilliamsCounty Commission issues with the FCWB:

Does my board have some issues? Absolutely. Are they adamant in their issues? Absolutely. They’ve got some things that even I don’t know. We are not so bad that we will not take your money. When you talk about the money that you do have some latitude in distribution, they believe they have a legal right to help determine how that money is distributed. They believe that the budgets are supposed to be approved in a certain legal fashion and currently they are not.

CM Williams did not explain how the Columbia County Commission came up with their legal conclusions.

Someone asked the County Manager, “In what way are they not being legally approved?”

CM Williams responded, “They are not going back to the individual county commissions for their approval.”

Executive Director Chastain:

Executive Director "JC" John ChastainThey are, but they don’t know it. We are required to submit the budgets to them when we send the WIA plan to them. That WIA plan is the budget ... We need three of four county commissions to approve the budget. Mr. Bailey was here last year. We go through the budget. We lay it out. Every year I ask, does the Consortium have any questions? It’s been done every year.

The Observer asked the County Manager, “Does the county know what part of the FCWB money they want redirected?”

CM Williams answered, “Individual commissioners have individual opinions.”

The Observer followed up, “Do you think that might be available at the upcoming joint meeting?”

CM Williams said, “I think they owe it to you.”

The Observer asked, “Out of the 1.6 million dollar FCWB budget, just how much money are we talking about that is discretionary?”

There was no clear answer, although the estimates ran from about twenty thousand dollars divided between the four counties of the Consortium to about one hundred and seventy thousand dollars.

Where is the Columbia County Consortium member?

Board Member Warren Downs
Board member Warren Downs reflected everyone's frustration with the Columbia County Commission and Commissioner Bailey.

FCWB member Warren W. Downs asked County Manager Williams, “Where is the [Columbia County] board member that is the member of the Consortium?”

CM Williams answered, “That member is Commissioner Bailey. He was invited today. He was out of town when the meeting [the joint County Commission – FCWB meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. that evening] was cancelled. I did not think he would be here because I think he had prior plans.” 

In the past, the four county Consortium used to meet along with the FCWB. When Commissioner Bailey came on board he wanted to change things and have the Consortium meet separately. According to Mr. Chastain, the Consortium members did not want to do that.

Mr. Chastain said, “The Consortium members have communicated with me that they are very happy with the way Florida Crown is operated.” “Nowhere in Florida is a Board of County Commissioners being involved in the day to day operations of spending the money. That’s a Consortium responsibility. It involves three other counties.”

CM Williams responded, “I am hearing them saying there is a latitude in your budget and there should be some input on the part of the board and the other agencies of the county that all interface on what you are doing ... They are telling me that they have a legal obligation to do that.”

Mr. Downs’ frustration was evident, “Look at the people here who are volunteering their time to do something good for their fellow man. To be tied up with such trivial stuff is a waste of our time.”

Chairman Thompson told CM Williams, “This doesn’t serve anybody well. When this board has an opportunity to do an extreme amount of good through the stimulus dollars, we are spending a lot of time on this issue. We need to get beyond it. We want a cordial relationship.

CM Williams said, “I know they have all intentions of rescheduling the meetings.”

The FCWB asked, “When?”

In either a clear effort to keep FCWB on the ropes, or just plain rudeness, the County could not come up with a time.

Executive Director Chastain told the County Manager, “I have twenty five board members. They are setting a schedule. They are driving. Plus there are people who want to come to speak on this issue.”

Chairman Thompson told the County Manager and the Workforce Board, “We are as prepared as we are ever going to be. Florida Crown is going to continue its work until the state tells us to shut the doors.”

Mr. Downs wanted to know, “Why isn’t [Commissioner] Bailey coming down and asking the questions himself. He is supposed to be the board’s representative. Instead of coming here and working with the board, or coming here with ideas, he doesn’t come here and keeps throwing a monkey wrench in the machine.

Florida is in the top the of highest unemployed.

With Florida now number ten on the list of states with the worst unemployment and Florida Crown working hard and seeing almost three thousand people a month during the present national economic crisis, it is still not understood how it came about that Jack Berry protégé, Columbia County Commissioner, Jody DuPree, saw fit to mug both the four county region and the residents of Columbia County with his ill timed and illegal motion, which has wasted and diverted so much valuable time, effort and money.

After the meeting concluded, County Manager Dale Williams told the Observer that the county had contacted Workforce Florida for answers to the following three questions: 1) What is the role of the Consortium?2) What are the duties and responsibilities of the FCWB? 3) What funds are restricted and what funds are not?

The CM told the Observer that he would send along the answers when they are received.  No explanation was given as to why Mr. DuPree and the Board acted without those answers at their fingertips. 


Florida Crown Affair:

  County gives up battle to destroy Fl Crown - Good old boys play possum to the end (posted October 11, 2010 05:00 am)
 • Florida Crown remains in the lurch
(posted April 21, 2010)
 • Florida Crown on top again (posted April 14, 2010) 
Florida Crown - Columbia County -Time for a little mercy (posted March 19, 2010)
 Florida Crown Invitation Com Langford steps up – it takes a woman (posted March 15, 2010)
Florida Crown Soars $402,000 Wings Grant Awarded (posted Oct 28, 2009)
 Difficult economic times - Florida Crown stretched thin and working overtime (posted Nov 26, 2009)
  Florida Crown Affair • Search Continues For Columbia County Issues (Part II) (posted June 18, 2009)
  Florida Crown Affair • Search Continues For Columbia County Issues (Part I) (posted June 17, 2009)
Florida Crown Affair moves to Gilchrist County (posted June 2, 2009)
  County Commission ignores rule of law
(posted May 26, 2009)
 • The Observer responds to County Manager Dale Williams (May 21, 2009)
 Florida Crown Receives Florida Literacy Award (posted May 20, 2009)
 Florida Crown's harassment continues
(Part II)
(posted April 16, 2009)
 Columbia County Commission leaves Florida Crown in the lurch – again
(Part 1)
(posted April 15, 2009)
  Florida Crown Gets Clean Bill of Health (posted March 23, 2009)
  George Skinner, former Columbia County Commissioner, weighs in on the Florida Crown controversy. (posted March 16, 2009)
  Florida Crown Workforce Board -- To good to leave (Posted March 12, 2009)