Florida Crown Affair • Search Continues For Columbia
County Issues (Part I)
Columbia County, FL (posted June 17,
The June 15, 2009 Florida Crown Workforce Board
“FCWB” meeting played to a full house, but the real
action occurred during the Consortium meeting which
Shortly after the Consortium meeting began, long time
FCWB member and vice chair, Alonzo Philmore got up and
walked out as Columbia County’s representative,
Commissioner Stephen Bailey, was trying to explain his
problems with Florida Crown. The frustration of Mr.
Philmore, who told the Observer, “I couldn’t take it
anymore because Mr. Bailey had no idea what he was
talking about,” has been echoed by many.
FCWB member Warren Downs got right down to it asking
Commissioner Bailey, “Where do we stand with this thing
with Columbia County Commissioners? If I
understand, you are the guy that is creating most of the
problems? What is your purpose?”
Commissioner Bailey: My purpose is to
do things the way that it’s supposed to be done.”
According to you?
According to some of the statutes and stuff. That is
what the Board’s intent is...
What is the problem?
Commissioner Bailey: That’s why our
board wants to meet and to discuss that with the full
consortium and all of the four county’s boards.
I think you’ve caused the problem with the people here
in Columbia County, the people that work here and as a
member of this board, I’m disappointed in you.
Mr. Ralph Tyre, a legend in Dixie County and Florida, is
still a force to be reckoned with.
Long time FCWB member, Mr. Ralph Tyre, is a former
Dixie County Commissioner and the youngest person ever
elected to the Florida State Legislature. He has decades
of experience in governmental affairs and is well versed
in the political arena. Since 1999, Mr. Tyre has
dedicated his time and energy to seeing that the rural
counties in Region 7 get their fair share of dollars and
Mr. Tyre asked Commissioner Bailey:
Is there any hope of reconciliation, or is it over with
as far as Columbia County is concerned?
Columbia County, according to the interlocal that we
have, has not done all of the steps that the interlocal
requires to completely with draw out of the region.
“At the last meeting it was requested to have Columbia
County ask for an Attorney General opinion. I took that
back to the board at the last meeting. The Board said we
will discuss that with our attorney also. Our attorney
said that is not a matter that requires an attorney
“Our board at that point voted to send the Governor a
letter and ask him to remove Columbia County out of the
Mr. Tyre: If you are a
home rule county, which you are, why are you running to
the state to solve your problem, instead of working it
The frustration was evident in Mr. Tyre's voice as he
joined the chorus and attempted to find out what
Columbia County’s problems were.
Mr. Tyre: “We can’t
get you all to sit down. I know I haven’t been able to
and I’ve been on this board for ten odd years.”
Mr. Tyre told Mr. Bailey about Florida Crown.
“It’s been a blessing for the youngins and all the money
that we’ve gotten from this committee for these
Mr. Tyree asked Mr. Bailey if he knew what was going to
happen to the Consortium if Columbia County went into
He asked Mr. Bailey if he knew how much money the region
would lose. “The money that helps people.”
You mind telling me what your opinion of it is?
Commissioner Bailey: I
don’t know the dollar amount, but I do feel that it
would be a – that it’s in the best interest. What it
seems to me, the way that Columbia County is headed and
the way the rest the region is headed – is in two
Mr. Tyre: What are those
two different directions?
Commissioner Bailey: There’s been a
whole lot of things said about Stephen that’s absolutely
Mr. Tyree: By who?
Commissioner Bailey: By
this workforce board and by other folks. I’m not going
into any of that.
But we need to. We need to find out where the problem
Part II continues tomorrow