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CareerSource FL Crown: After the Mutiny, Exec Dir & His Staff Walk Back In the Door They Walked Out Like Nothing Ever Happened

CareerSource FL Crown executive dir and staff
Columbia County Observer photos: (across the bottom) Marilisa Reed, Kristina Williams, Jeff Geering.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA – CareerSource FL Crown Executive Director Robert Jones led FL Crown staff walkout, shutting down the administrative functions of the four-county workforce special district – Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Union. As reported earlier, on Monday, March 11, 2024, the entire administrative staff followed Executive Director Robert Jones out the door.

Was the Walkout a Protest or an Act of Malfeasance?
Can the Governor Remove the Bunch?

What is malfeasance?

 According to Black's Law Dictionary, Third Edition, malfeasance is: the doing of any wrongful or unlawful act; "a wrongful act which the actor has no legal right to do... as any wrongful conduct which affects, interrupts or interferes with the performance of an official duty; ... as an act for which there is no authority or warrant of law; ... as an act which a person ought not to do at all...." 97 S. E. 2d 33,42.

Florida Statutes allow the Governor to remove the Executive Director, the person responsible for the operational and administrative functions of the Board – for cause. While there is a laundry list explaining "cause," cause includes unfitness, neglect of duty, official incompetence and irresponsibility, and malfeasance.

Who walked off (quit) the job?

The Man In Charge: Florida Crown's Executive Director Robert Jones.

On March 11, 2023, it was reported Director Jones walked off the job after cutting up his FL Crown credit card and walking out the door, leaving his keys on his desk. It has also been reported that after he quit, he returned to the building to retrieve his refrigerator.

After he walked out, it was discovered that Internet access (permission) was removed for the Florida Crown website, making it impossible to post Florida Crown meeting notices and agendas, a legal requirement, on the web.

Robert Jones has been at Florida Crown for over 20 years, and over time, he worked his way up from finance to Executive Director.

CareerSource FL Executive Program Director Garrick Wright, Chief Financial Officer FL Commerce Caroline (Tisha) Womack
Back row (l to r): CareerSource FL Executive Program Director Garrick Wright, Chief Financial Officer FL Commerce Caroline (Tisha) Womack, attending the proceedings on March 7, 2024.

During a special March 7 meeting of the Florida Crown Executive Committee, which was attended by Executive Director Robert Jones and the rest of the staff, as well as folk from FloridaCommerce and CareerSource Florida in Tallahassee, there was not one mention of hostile work conditions by anyone. If hostile working conditions existed, with the state looking on, this would have been a good time to mention it.

In attendance during the March 7 meeting were Florida Crown’s number 2, Ron Jones, who is not bashful, Finance Director Jeff Geering, Accounting Asst. Marilisa Reed, Admin. Asst. Kristina Williams, and Executive Director Robert Jones. Not one of them said a word about hostile working conditions. Ms. Reed spent most of the meeting looking at her cell phone.

The March 7 meeting concerned what the state found to be troublesome accounting practices, which the state claimed were ongoing for years. CareerSource Florida Crown Under Investigation by DEO for Recurring Financial Improprieties

Executive Dir. Robert Jones and the staff were reeling. Two working days later, on March 11, the staff mutinied en masse and walked out the door.

All the resignations were in writing, except for Executive Director Robert Jones and his number two, Ron Jones, who was out of town. Administrative assistant Kristina Williams wrote in her email to the Board: "This email is typed on behalf of Mr. Robert Jones. Effective immediately, March 11, 2024, Mr. Robert Jones, Executive Director for CareerSource Florida Crown, has resigned from his position as the Executive Director and all responsibilities assigned to this position..."

Neither Executive Director Jones nor any of the others who resigned mentioned one word about hostile working conditions.

During a special emergency meeting of the Florida Crown Consortium and Workforce Board on March 12, an emergency meeting called by Board Chairman Eugene Dukes to give the Board a chance to deal with the resignations, Executive Director Robert Jones admitted he walked out (quit) and claimed he walked because of a hostile work environment. Accounting Assistant Marilisa Reed also began crying about a hostile workplace.

Parttime IT person Roy Armstrong, who was also present during the March 7 meeting and was silent then, also complained about a hostile workplace environment – for other people – but did not claim anyone was hostile towards him.

Florida Crown's number two, Ron Jones, was the only staff member who did not provide a written resignation letter. He was out of town when the group walked. However, he called your reporter and advised that he and the rest of the staff quit because of a hostile workplace.

Was there any rule or policy which allowed the Executive Director and his staff to quit en masse?

Executive Director Robert Jones. His contract requires a 60-day written notice. He did not provide that. (see page 3 of contract)

Link to letters of resignationFlorida Crown's number two, Ron Jones. The Florida Crown personnel policy requires two weeks’ notice. He did not provide that.

Finance Director Jeff Geering also serves as personnel director. The Florida Crown personnel policy requires two weeks’ notice. He did not provide that. It is not clear if he knew the personnel policy.

Accounting Asst. Marilisa Reed. The Florida Crown personnel policy requires two weeks’ notice. She did not provide that.

Administrative Assistant Kristina Williams. The Florida Crown personnel policy requires two weeks’ notice. She did not provide that.

If the Exec. Dir has a complaint, what can he do? He can address his complaints directly to his bosses and the Workforce Board. He did not do that.

If the Executive Director's staff has a complaint, what can they do?

Answer: Follow the personnel policies that provide for grievance resolution. None of them did that.


The Executive Director led his staff out the door, leaving the agency no way to pay its bills or make payroll.

The permissions to update the inadequate, worst in the state, non-compliant Florida Crown website so that meetings could be noticed and agendas provided were shut off, leaving Florida Crown without any way to mass notify the public.

Columbia County Commissioner Robby Hollingsworth has been railing for months, along with the Executive Director and Florida Crown's number two, Ron Jones, that if CareerSource Florida Crown were consolidated into a region controlled by Alachua County, it would have no representation.


Crying rivers of crocodile tears and complaining after the fact of hostile working conditions after the state moved in writing on years of alleged accounting issues does not pass the smell test.

Allowing mass walk-offs (quitting) without consequence is something that the Governor of the "Free State of Florida" has the power to do something about.

He can decide whether this group or, at the minimum, the Executive Director, was "free" after illegally quitting his position, to just walk back in the door like nothing ever happened.

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