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Columbia County Observer

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Florida Crown Affair • Search Continues For Columbia County Issues (Part II)

The legendary Dixie County Commissioner and FCWB member, Ralph Tyre, attempts to get some answers from Columbia County's Consortium delegate, Commissioner Stephen Bailey.

Columbia County was still playing it close to the vest as Mr. Tyre continued to search for answers from Columbia County.

Months after Columbia County Commissioner, Jody Dupree, threw the region into turmoil with his ill timed motion of imaginary problems with the Region Seven Workforce Board, Commissioner Bailey still would not or could not reveal any details.

Commissioner Bailey’s answers (see Part I) revealed that Columbia County, after receiving thousands of pages of information, was still unaware of the role of the consortium in a work force region.

Mr. Tyre continued with his questions:              We need to find out where the problem is.

Commissioner Bailey:   “We’ll do that as a full board. Our full board will do that. When we sit at different meetings throughout the state and we hear what other regions are doing and have the ability to do – that we’re not doing. We’re asking why and that’s why we’re asking the question. Why we’re not doing things that other areas can do and that have the ability to do...”

Commissioner Bailey continued:        When you sit in Gainesville Florida at a state strategic planning meeting for economic development and for Workforce Florida and they’re sitting there talking about the future of the way things are going and there’s no one there representing this region – that concerns me greatly.

          “When you’re road mapping the future of this area to the county. That concerns me greatly.”

Commissioner Bailey was at that meeting in Gainesville. He is a member of the Consortium that represents "this region." Other than his generalizations, it was unclear what he learned and as the conversation progressed, it became clear that Commissioner Bailey was not clear on the issues.

Mr. Tyre mentioned economic development in the region.

Commissioner Bailey responded:       I think it depends on how you define economic development.

Mr. Tyre pressed on:       What’s your definition?

Commissioner Bailey:           Because economic development is not just out going and getting a company and recruiting them into your county. Economic development also is maintaining that and how workforce ties into the role of economic development. Workforce is a huge key into economic development. It’s huge.

Mr. Tyre explained that those projects use Federal money. “There are guidelines.”

Commissioner Bailey:   How come Tallahassee and the state says that it can be done?

Mr. Larry Thompson, FCWB chairman stepped in:    In defense of the Board, when WFI gets up and makes a presentation and they say that Workforce is a key – [it is] because they are... Those dollars come directly from WFI. They don’t go to the board. If that’s an interpretation on your Board’s part to say well, we’re not getting those dollars because Florida Crown’s not writing the check – that’s a misconception.

Commissioner Bailey agrees with Mr. Thompson:   I agree with that – because that’s not how – they don’t flow through.

Mr. Thompson:     ... Those dollars don’t flow through Florida Crown. Is there some wiggle room in our budget – yes, but the percentage of those dollars is very small and restricted compared to what’s available from WFI. WFI may be able to issue one grant that would exceed our entire WIA budget. Technically, they have the ability to do that.

As usual, no one was getting anywhere with Columbia County.

Executive Director Chastain:  I am concerned that we need to go on record with the people of Columbia County and just assure them that Florida Crown will continue to deliver services to them and they will continue to be represented by their existing board members.

Marvin Hunt shows the strain that everyone who has been dealing with Columbia County feels.

Commissioner Marvin Hunt of Dixie County agreed that Chairperson Sharon Langford of Gilchrest County would sign a letter to that effect.

The Consortium meeting adjourned.

Just like the way Columbia County runs itself -- never being able to admit a mistake; always taking short cuts and finding ways to skirt the truth; double talking and flimflaming its residents -- it treats other counties and indeed, Workforce Florida and the Governor’s Office.

Board member Downs reflected the feelings of just about everyone who has been following the Florida Crown Affair since the beginning.

Mr. Downs told Commissioner Bailey:   Stephen, I found that very disappointing. You have created such a stink. I have no idea who you are. I have no idea what your gripe is. What you’ve done is offend people like me. That’s what kind of a good job you’ve done.


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 - 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)