Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.


Op Ed


Florida Crown Workforce Board -- To good to leave

Published March 12, 2009

Jessica Catherwood Natale

The County Commission has decided to withdraw Columbia County from the interlocal agreement with Florida Crown Workforce Board (FCWB) in favor of joining with Region 9 Alachua/Bradford. 

This is really perplexing considering their excellent record of performance.

Over the past decade FCWB has consistently demonstrated outstanding performance, earning Region 7 incentive funding on numerous occasions.

There are no good reasons to join Alachua. Their performance has been and continues to be mediocre, evidenced by the fact they earned no incentive funding at all last year. Incentive funding is the extra dollars a region may be awarded based on excellent performance and is used to provide additional workforce services to a region’s job seekers.

Out of twenty-four regions, FCWB, representing Columbia, Gilchrest, Union and, Baker Counties was only one of two regions to meet all required threshold indicators and was ranked fourth out of twenty-four in ranking of services to employers. Region 9 ranked near the bottom at twenty-one. Region 9 also failed to meet its critical threshold requirement in welfare-recipient participation and ranked twenty-third, almost at the very bottom in services to job seekers. Additionally, FCWB out-performed Region 9 in the rate which jobseekers and veterans obtained employment after receiving workforce services.

I am a former voting member of two Florida Regional Workforce Boards and a management-level workforce professional with a decade of experience in the field. I cannot imagine why rational-thinking public servants would support such a risky endeavor at a time of economic uncertainty, especially when capable workforce services are so critical to Columbia County residents.

I am a taxpaying Columbia County property owner with a vested interest the area’s economic welfare. I believe when elected officials make decisions that seem to defy the sensibilities of the public, their motives usually are political.

Whatever the County Commission’s motives for considering this ill-conceived motion, they should proceed cautiously and carefully, considering whether they, along with the processes they’ve undertaken will stand up to the state-level scrutiny this will inevitably attract.

Ms. Natale is a former Chairman of the Columbia County Charter
Review Commission 2005 -- ed


Florida Crown Affair:

  County gives up battle to destroy Fl Crown - Good old boys play possum to the end (posted October 11, 2010 05:00 am)
 • Florida Crown remains in the lurch
(posted April 21, 2010)
 • Florida Crown on top again (posted April 14, 2010) 
Florida Crown - Columbia County -Time for a little mercy (posted March 19, 2010)
 Florida Crown Invitation Com Langford steps up – it takes a woman (posted March 15, 2010)
Florida Crown Soars $402,000 Wings Grant Awarded (posted Oct 28, 2009)
 Difficult economic times - Florida Crown stretched thin and working overtime (posted Nov 26, 2009)
  Florida Crown Affair • Search Continues For Columbia County Issues (Part II) (posted June 18, 2009)
  Florida Crown Affair • Search Continues For Columbia County Issues (Part I) (posted June 17, 2009)
Florida Crown Affair moves to Gilchrist County (posted June 2, 2009)
  County Commission ignores rule of law
(posted May 26, 2009)
 • The Observer responds to County Manager Dale Williams (May 21, 2009)
 Florida Crown Receives Florida Literacy Award (posted May 20, 2009)
 Florida Crown's harassment continues
(Part II)
(posted April 16, 2009)
 Columbia County Commission leaves Florida Crown in the lurch – again
(Part 1)
(posted April 15, 2009)
  Florida Crown Gets Clean Bill of Health (posted March 23, 2009)
  George Skinner, former Columbia County Commissioner, weighs in on the Florida Crown controversy. (posted March 16, 2009)
  Florida Crown Workforce Board -- To good to leave (Posted March 12, 2009)