Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news from Florida for working families since 2007

Lake Shore Hosp Authority

Helter-Skelter at the LSHA, Berry Rudeness Un-Checked, Koberlein Legal Logic Questionable

COLUMBIA COUNTY/LAKE CITY, FL – It was helter-skelter business as usual Monday night, September 12, at the first of two FY 2017 Lake Shore Hospital Authority Budget Hearings. The Authority agenda for the Budget Hearing provided no information regarding any budget amendments. The agenda confused the day and date of the next budget hearing and remains uncorrected. Manager Berry's extreme behavior continued to be rubber stamped by the Governor Scott Board as it remained silent while Mr. Berry turned his back on citizens who commented on the budget.

Neither the Governor's Board, nor the Lake Shore Hospital Authority Manager, Jackson P. "Jack" Berry, has seen fit to update the Authority website calendar showing the September 19 special meeting-budget hearing. Keeping the public in the dark is nothing new at the Authority.

The Budget Hearing

Barbara Lemley addressed the Authority Board, as Margarita Labarta, PhD, the President/CEO of Meridan Behavioral Healthcare looks on.

The agenda for the budget hearing, which the Authority ran as a special meeting, rather than part of its regularly scheduled meeting, was silent regarding any budget amendments or proposals by either the Hospital Authority staff or any Board member.

As can be seen (see pdf logo) by looking at the hearing agenda, Manager Berry, who is responsible for preparing the agenda, did not add anything regarding any budget amendment.

Manager Berry's interesting behavior as Ms. Lemley addressed the Board.

Item 4 on the agenda allowed for public comment. Columbia County resident Barbara Lemley commented and questioned budget. Before she began speaking, Manager Berry turned his back toward her and put his hand and arm in front of his face. The Governor's Board, one member of which (Tim Murphy) is running for a seat on the County 5, does not object to Mr. Berry's extreme behavior.

Your reporter, who is also a resident in the LSHA Special District, questioned the education expenses in the budget. Manager Berry's back remained turned.

A short while later, Chairwoman Lory Chancy asked for any budget amendments.

The Budget Amendment: a carny shell game

The tentative budget hearing agenda & budget.

Representative Elizabeth Porter's Chief of Staff, Koby Adams, also an Authority Board member, addressed the Board.

Mr. Adams:  I'd like to propose an amendment to the budget for the adoption plan that's in everybody's packet.

The information that Mr. Adams mentioned "that's in everybody's packet" was on the agenda for the regular meeting to follow, not the budget hearing.

This made no difference to any Board member, nor the Authority Attorney, Fred Koberlein.

Board member Ron Foreman added, "My concern was the insurance that we provide for employees is really not really insurance unless it's catastrophic."

After some discussion Ms. Chancy called for the vote.

No one appeared sure of the motion.

What is the motion?

Your reporter asked, "What is the motion, please?"

As Board member Janet Creel looks on, Board member Koby Adams clarifies his budget amendment.

Mr. Adams responded, "The motion is to accept proposal of providing a reimbursement up to $2500 per employee, not to exceed $5000 total in insurance reimbursements for -- what's it called? -- what's it called?"


Authority auditor – accountant – financial advisor (all one person) Richard Powell said, "Fiscal year."

Board member Janet Creel added, "Employees."

Mr. Powell added, "For the fiscal year."

Board member Time Murphy asked, "For all three employees?"

Manager Berry said, "I'm exempt from that."

Ms. Creel said, "Two employees."

Senator Joe Negron's Senate Bill 50, as it became known, allows public comment before the vote on a proposition before the board. The public hearing was for the FY 2017 Tentative Budget, which is separate and apart from the public hearing for the final budget. That's the budget hearing which is not on the Authority web calendar.

Your reporter said, "I'd like to comment -- Fred -- SB 50. There is no amendment on the agenda."

Mr. Adams said, "I just made one."

Your reporter said, "If they are going to vote on it, then the public has a right to comment, before you vote on it, particularly if you are changing the budget."

Attorney Koberlein working on his laptop.

Attorney Fred Koberlein's Logic

Attorney Fred Koberlein responded, "I think Mr. Lilker had an opportunity to comment. He didn't anticipate any changes. You will have another hearing. Unfortunately, I don't think anybody can anticipate every change that's going to come before em' on the agenda, but maybe the legislature will change the law... but right now we've allowed public participation. You can allow it if you'd like, or we can move on."

Your reporter said, "The public hasn't been allowed to participate on the motion that amends the budget."

Chancy:  You are welcome to comment at the next meeting, Mr. Lilker.

According to Attorney Koberlein's logic, a person would have to be a mind-reader to keep up with the Lake Shore Hospital Authority Board and its Manager.

The Chair could have asked for additions and deletions, as is the common practice in the civilized world, after the meeting convened.

The Florida legislation is clear when it comes to Special District (the Authority) budgets and their requirements. There are: two separate budgets; two separate hearings; two posting requirements

(4)  The tentative budget must be posted on the special district’s official website at least 2 days before the budget hearing... to consider such budget and must remain on the website for at least 45 days. The final adopted budget must be posted on the special district’s official website within 30 days after adoption and must remain on the website for at least 2 years. (FL Statutes, citation omitted)

The tentative budget and its Monday hearing and the final budget (and its associated hearing) are separate. SB 50 was instituted to give the public the right to comment on final actions. The final action on the Tentative Budget was on Monday night.


Governor Scott's Lake Shore Hospital Board: The legend continues.

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More LSHA stories are here.

LSHA 8 (clockwise from top):
Koby Adams - political operative and Liz Porter's Chief of staff
Brandon Biel - latest Scott appointee and a young republican on the move
Dr. Waseem Khan - a board member who
lives out of the county
Janet Creel - real estate broker
Ron Foreman - father of the County Atny
Tim Murphy - a nice guy, talented welder, clueless about government
Board Chairwoman Lory Chancy - her main job appears to be not to answer questions and to protect Columbia County's legendary political operative, Jackson P. "Jack" Berry (in the middle).