Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.

Columbia County News

Florida Crown Invitation
Com Langford steps up – it takes a woman

A little over a year ago, with the country and the region suffering a catastrophic financial meltdown not seen since the Great Depression and with unemployment soaring in Florida, Columbia County Commissioner, Jody DuPree, in what many consider one of the most thoughtless, unconscionable and unsupported acts in the history of Columbia County, pulled a motion out of his jacket pocket – a motion that was typed earlier in the day by the staff of County Manager, Dale Williams – and threw one of the nation's top performing workforce boards into turmoil.

On March 5, 2009 the Columbia County Commission moved to withdraw from the Florida Crown Consortium.

For almost a year, based on the actions of Com DuPree and unanimously endorsed by the rest of the Columbia County Commission, the Florida Crown Consortium, which is the legislative arm of the four counties in Workforce Region 7 (Columbia – until it withdrew, Dixie, Gilchrist, and Union) has been unrepresented in the region.

Florida Crown is the employment and job training agency for Columbia County, as well as the three other counties in Region 7.

Over the past year Region 7 and the state have been forced to squander tens of thousands of dollars based on the initial "rabbit in the hat" motion by Columbia County Com DuPree.

Columbia County has never paid the invoice for the thousand plus pages of copies supplied by Florida Crown – money that could have been spent helping to put people back to work. Florida Crown waived the research costs to accumulate the information. It is unknown if anyone from the county ever read the requested information.

Sharon Langford, Gilchrist County Commissioner steps up

Gilchrist County Commissioner, Sharon Langford

On February 16th and 17th of 2010, both FCWB Consortium Chairperson, Commissioner Sharon Langford of Gilchrest County and Larry Thompson, Chairperson of the Workforce Board sent letters (Ms. Langford -- Mr. Thompson) to Columbia County Commissioner Ronald Williams inviting him unconditionally to the March 23rd meetings at Florida Crown.

On March 5, 2010, exactly one year to the day that Columbia County moved to withdraw from Florida Crown, Consortium Chairperson, Sharon Langford, the past chairperson of the Gilchrist County Commission, sent Columbia County Commissioner, Ronald Williams an unconditional invitation "to rejoin the Consortium as a full and equal member."

Com Langford further stated, "I have prepared a letter (attached) by which Columbia County can rejoin the Consortium and we are prepared to seat you at the March 23rd meeting, if you so desire."

This past Friday, March12th, your reporter spoke with Ms. Langford.

It turns out that Ms. Langford is used to solving problems. Besides being the Florida Crown Consortium Chairperson and the past Chair of the Gilchrist County Commission, she is a math teacher and is now the math coach of the Gilchrist County school district, whose High School is rated as one of the best in Florida and the country.

Ms. Langford told the Observer, "It is my hope and I believe that I can speak for the rest of the consortium members, that Columbia County will return to become a member of the consortium -- I just hope that they will."

This Thursday evening, the Columbia County Commission is scheduled to meet. One would expect this item will be on the meeting agenda.

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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)