Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news from Florida for working families since 2007


Cake Walk For Former County Mgr Dale Williams: Gov's Board Top Pick for PT LSHA Manager

More LSHA stories are here.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Last night the Lake Shore Hospital Authority Board chose former 30+ year veteran Columbia County, County Manager Dale Williams to Manage the Authority on a part time salaried basis. What at first seemed like a tough choice was a cake walk for the veteran Williams, with only Board member Loretta Chancy failing to give him the nod over two other candidates. (47 Kraus – 44 Williams).

The tale of the tape.                    Click to enlarge


As reported yesterday, there were three candidates. (see: Curtain Comes Down on Berry Era: Governor Scott's LSHA Bd Will Select a New Auth Manager): David Kraus, Blaine Wheeler, Dale Williams.

All three candidates were prepared and enthusiastic. Mr. Wheeler was personable and well spoken, however, his lack of government experience proved to be his downfall. Dr. Mark Thompson gave Mr. Wheeler a perfect zero, for everything, on his score card.

No matter how the score cards were rated, Dale Williams came out on top.

The Meeting

Chairman Beil did his usual low key professional job of running the meeting and chose to recess the meeting during the tallying sessions after each candidate rather than keeping the microphones open and having personal conversations in the recorded record.

Sylvester Warren and Vanessa George listen to Dale Williams.

Community Involvement

Columbia County has approximately 68,000 residents, 12,000 of which reside in Lake City.

City Council candidate Vanessa George and Sylvester Warren were the only two citizen attendees from Lake City at the meeting. The LSHA Hdq. and Shands at Lake Shore Hospital are in her district. Former Authority Board member Marc Vann and County resident Barbara Lemley were the only other two residents from the County in attendance.


No one from the Authority advised the candidates or the new board members that they weren't covered by insurance.

During one of the recesses your reporter spoke with the candidates and none of them knew about the lack of insurance. All of them thought that the lack of insurance coverage would be an issue if they were chosen for the job.

Contract Negotiations

As the meeting drew to a close, the Board moved to hire Mr. Williams as a salaried employee. The vote was unanimous and hiring Mr. Williams on a flat rate hourly basis or hiring him through his consulting firm, as was done previously in Baker County, was not something that was put on the table.

Attorney Koberlein spent a lot of time behind his giant laptop screen.

Neither the Board nor its Attorney Fred Koberlein, Jr., a municipal law expert, was prepared for this. This could be a problem with the Florida Retirement System.

In April of 2010, Jack Berry became the first part time Hospital Authority chief in the history of Florida. At that time, he went on the books for 24 unverified hours a week, plus benefits. Mr. Berry's base pay was $45,675 or the equivalent of $50 dollars per hour. That would appear to be the bench mark in the upcoming negotiations. (see: Hospital Authority KO's working families, Republican Chief gets sweetheart deal).

When Chairman Beil suggested a negotiating committee with two board members, as well and Attorney Koberlein, and Richard Powell the Authority's accountant – financial advisor – outside auditor (all one person), Mr. Koberlein said they couldn't have two board members on the committee.

This is not true. The board could have approved two of its members to sit on the committee. This would have put the meeting in the Sunshine and open to the public, something for which the Lake Shore Hospital Authority Board and Attorney Koberlein have shown to be particularly distasteful.

After Mr. Koberlein spoke up, the Board backed off the Sunshine and it was moved that only Chairman Beil would sit on the negotiating committee.

Mr. Williams is being paid with the public's money.


If and when this is all worked out, one thing is clear: Dale Williams is one of the most capable and knowledgeable municipal managers in Florida.

After the meeting, your reporter spoke with candidate David Kraus about the Board's decision. He said he was disappointed and would have served the Authority and the people of the County well, but that the Authority would be in good hands. "Dale Williams is one of the smartest people I know," he said.

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