Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online news service

County News

CRC Careening Out of Control: Running on Rumors, Bad Management, & Refusing to Answer Questions

Ron Williams, Jr., address the CRC.                                               Observer graphic and  photo

CRC (Charter Review Commission) news linksCOLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – The Columbia County Charter Review Commission (CRC) met on Thursday night. Unsubstantiated rumors about changing commissioner district voting caused a larger than normal turnout, but the real story was bad management and an out of control Charter Review Commission, whose chairman and committee chairman act like a bunch of mobsters refusing to answer questions.


County Charter review comes every 8 years. The Charter Review Commission is in the 2020 review cycle and any amendments to the charter will be voted up or down on Election Day this November.

Since its first meeting in July 2019, the CRC has met six times.

Committees established by CRC Chairman Robert Lane have met twenty times.

Chairman Lane goes by the name of "Rambo."

There are 5 sets of de minimis minutes for the CRC.

The committee meetings are another story, with only 4 sets of minutes of varying quality for twenty meetings which began in September 2019.

The CRC By-Laws, which were approved almost unanimously by the CRC, state, "Minutes of committee proceedings shall [must] be filed at least once per month."

Up and until about two days before Thursday's full commission meeting, the meeting was posted as a "committee" meeting.

CRC Commissioner Robert "Rambo" Lane
CRC Chairman Robert "Rambo" Lane. He was not giving up any info.

Early in the process, CRC commissioners removed meeting notices, document retention, and minute taking from the Clerk of the Court's jurisdiction to the County staff with a resulting in a big mess.

On Thursday night, your reporter asked Chairman Lane, "I'd like to know how is the public, Mr. Chairman,  supposed to be involved and be engaged and have any idea what's going on, if the minutes aren't available, so the people at least know what went on at these meetings?"

Chairman Lane offered no response.

Last minute corrected notice of the meeting may have been responsible for the dismal turnout. There are 41,528 registered County voters..


Rumors abound about what proposals will be coming from the CRC committees. The committee names and membership are not to be found on the County CRC web pages.

A recent rumor caused folks to show up at Thursday's CRC meeting, with many stating positions on county-wide voting for district commissioners.

Outside Counsel: Neighbor's, Giblin & Nickerson

The law firm of Neighbor's, Giblin & Nickerson, (NGN) the same folk that were involved in the North Florida Broadband Authority debacle, was hired as consultants to the CRC.

It came out at the CRC meeting that the firm was doing a lot of work for Mr. DuPree's Operations Committee.

County Attorney Joel Foreman, who is acting as a consulting attorney for the Commission, volunteered that NGN was investigating the legality of certain proposals by the committees.

Community activist Sylvester Warren
Sylvester Warren was not happy with the proceedings.

Sylvester Warren of N. Lake City asked if Mr. DuPree was the only person that had talked to NGN, alluding to the commissioner district voting issue.

The attorney from NGN is Lynn Hoshihara.

Mr. DuPree responded, "She's doin' a whole lot more than that. The issue you're talkin' about is a very small portion of what she's actually doin'. The reason my name appears on all this stuff is because I'm the Chairman."

Stephen Douglas, Chairman of the Finance Committee, volunteered, "I have questions that she's also looking into on our particular committees.  So she's doing a lot."

Ron Williams, Jr.: He Wanted 'Specifics'

Ron Williams, Jr.
Ron Williams, Jr., was not taking 'no' for an answer.

Ron Williams, Jr. asked Mr. DuPree, "What exactly is she doin'? Everything what she's doin'."

Mr. DuPree responded, "I can't tell you what she's doin' - everything she's doin' right this second. She's doin' a lot of other studies and work."

Mr. Williams asked, "What's other studies? I need to know specifically: what is she doing?"

Mr. Williams waited for an answer. There was a long pause. Then County Attorney Foreman responded, "She's writing up a job description for me. She's working on something related to the county -unintelligible-."

Mr. Williams asked again, "What did you ask her to do? What did the committee ask her to do? What has she been asked to do?"

CRC Commissioner Jody DuPree
CRC Commissioner Jody DuPree said he was giving up no information.

Mr. DuPree responded, "I'm not going to answer you because you asked me something specific and I don't want to mislead you. There are several issues -- I can't answer you."

Mr. Williams was persistent, "I need to know what issues specifically [she's] doing. And you should be able to answer that. That's a simple question. I have a top secret clearance, if you want to go there."

Mr. DuPree asked, "You got what?"

Mr. Williams asked again, "What is she doing? I mean, this is not a secret. What kind of work is she doing? What did you ask her to do? That is a simple question."

CRC Commissioner Stephen Douglas
Stephen Douglas was not helpful.

Stephen Douglas jumped in, "I'll give you an example."

Mr. Williams was getting annoyed, "I don't need an example. I just need to know what the specifics are - what she's doin'?"

Mr. Douglas said again that he could give an example. He wasn't speaking into the microphone and was mainly unintelligible.

Mr. Williams repeated, "Don't give me no examples. I want to know the specifics of what she's' doin'."

Chairman Lane jumped in, "We will keep this civilized."

Mr. Williams was exasperated, "OK. Listen, I'm asking the question and somebody's giving me roundabout answers. I just need to know the specifics of what she's been asked to do. Why is that so hard?"

There was a long silent pause.

Chairman Lane should have known what NGN's Hoshihara was asked to do, as he was on the Operations Committee with Mr. DuPree.

Mr. Lane was not talking, either.

Mr. Williams' time ran out. He turned and left the meeting.

Post Meeting

CRC Commissioner Ronald Foreman
CRC Commissioner Ronald Foreman

After the meeting, your reporter asked Ron Foreman, Chairman of the Charter Compliance Committee, "Where are all the minutes from your committee?"

He was carrying a folder under his arm

Mr. Foreman answered, "Right here in this folder."

The CRC By-Laws, which were approved unanimously by the CRC, state, "Minutes of committee proceedings shall [must] be filed at least once per month."


Columbia County Florida: the legend continues.

Comments  (to add a comment go here) 

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

Meeting Calendar
No need to be confused - Find links to agendas and where your participation is welcome.

Make a comment • click here •
All comments are displayed at the end of the article and are moderated.