Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida Gateway College President Off to Alaska – Who Is In Charge? Nobody's Talking  

Florida Gateway College Mystery. Who is in charge
(clockwise from left corner): former college president candidate, Brian Dopson, VP Academic Affairs; Board Chair Suzanne Norris; Jennifer Price, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs; Mike McKee, Ex. Dir. Media & Public Information

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Florida Gateway College President, Lawrence Barrett was reported to be leaving for an Alaskan cruise. With recent confusion regarding the chain of command at the college, the Observer asked the President, "When you are in Alaska, who is in charge of the College?"

After the June 4, 2019 Florida Gateway College governor's board meeting, it was reported to the Observer that college president Lawrence Barrett was heading off to Alaska for an Alaskan cruise. He was purported to be leaving over the weekend of June 8.

There has been confusion lately regarding the chain of command at the college, with the college president either confused or having no set chain of command for an institution which has an almost $22 mil budget.

During the June 4, 2014 FGC board meeting, a board meeting presided over by long time board member and present chair Suzanne Norris, your reporter was going to ask a question regarding the chain of command at the college and who was the second in command, but the 3 minutes given to address the board was up.

On June 6, your reporter followed up with an email asking the question:

President Barrett, It has been reported to the Columbia County Observer that you are heading to Alaska on or about this coming Saturday.

In the past, there has been some confusion regarding who is who on the college organizational chart, the most recent of which was approved at the last FGC board meeting.

Question:  When you are in Alaska, who is in charge of the College?

PS> Please be advised that this question was on my list of questions at the last FGC board meeting and would have only taken five seconds, however, you will recall that Chairman Norris advised me that my time was up...


This email was also copied to the president's secretary, Karyn Congressi; the number two under Pres. Barrett on the FGC organizational chart, the college's Executive Director of Media & Public Information, Mike McKee; and board chair Suzanne Norris.

The email was never answered.

Yesterday afternoon, the college's number three under Pres. Barrett, Executive Director of Human Resources Sharon Best met your reporter at the public library. Somebody at the college felt she needed a police escort.

Your reporter asked who requested the police escort from the college. Ms. Best answered, "Various, I don't know. People in charge."

Your reporter asked, "Nobody knows who's in charge?"

There was no response.


With FGC President Barrett out of touch and difficult to reach, it is hard to believe that no one knows who is in command or that this is not public information.

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