Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake City

Scheduling Difficulties Keep Public Off-Balance
City Dropping the Ball: "That's the way it goes"

LAKE CITY, FL – City Manager Wendell Johnson is responsible for the day-to-day operation of Lake City. The City Manager's Office is responsible for preparing City Council agendas and forwarding them to the City Clerk for distribution. The City Manager is also responsible for seeing that the City's calendar is kept up-to-date and has the overall responsibility of scheduling meetings so they are not in conflict with those of other jurisdictions in Columbia County. Lately, City Manager Johnson and the City Council have been dropping the ball.


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During the May 16, 2016, City Council meeting, Mayor Witt mentioned that the summer meeting agendas are "pretty brief" and he had discussion with the City Manager about having one meeting a month during June, July, and August and a "second meeting if something came up."

City Manager Johnson followed up on the Mayor's remarks. He mentioned something about being able to have adequate notice if a second meeting was necessary.

The failure of the City Council to invest in microphones that work and the tendency of the Council to forget that the Sunshine law requires that they be heard resulted in many of the Council's comments being unintelligible in the audience.

This is not new for the City Council.

Minutes: The Summer Schedule

The May 16 meeting minutes state:

Ms. Moses made a motion to approve a summer Council meeting schedule for the months of June, July, and August consisting of one regularly scheduled meeting to be held on the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m. Mr. Paulk seconded the motion. A roll call vote was taken and the motion passed.

The City Calendar

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Throughout the weekend and until approximately 2:20 pm today, the calendar on the Lake City website showed the City Council meeting at 6 pm. Then, like a puff of smoke, it disappeared from the calendar.

As can be seen in the minutes, there is only one meeting scheduled for August. While the City's adjusted the July calendar and finally removed tonight's meeting, the August calendar remained unchanged.

Last Month:  "That's the way it goes."

Last month, City Manager Johnson scheduled a City meeting for the same time as the Governor's monthly Lake Shore Hospital Authority Board meeting.

This was pointed out to Mr. Johnson, who was out of town. There was plenty of time to adjust the starting time of the City meeting to begin after the Hospital Authority meeting concluded. Hospital Authority meetings rarely last more than 45 minutes. Mr. Johnson refused.

His secretary explained, "That's the way it goes."

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