Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.

Lake Shore Hospital Authority

Good ole boy and former Republican Chief gets Hospital Authority Nod

Former Authority Chairman Berry makes a point at his interview. During his tenure as Authority Chairman, Mr. Berry banned photographs at Authority meetings.

No one was surprised last night when the former Columbia County Republican Chief and Hospital Authority Chairman, Jack Berry, was hired by his old board to be the Authority's first paid manager, just months after resigning from the Lake Shore Hospital Authority. The Authority has two employees.

In Columbia County, where impropriety or the appearance of impropriety takes a back seat to no one, former Authority Chairman Berry, who in other parts of the civilized world would have been taken out of consideration for his racist remarks, his secretive ways, his obliteration of the state's Sunshine Laws, his animosity toward the handicapped or his misplaced belief that Republican Party rules trump the County Charter, the Florida Statutes and the Constitution of the United States, was ranked number one last night in a vote that surprised no one.

The march to the position

Authority Chairman Marc Vann along with veteran Authority staff member Sue Fraze and Richard Powell, the inside accountant, outside auditor and financial advisor for the Authority, tally the votes for the position.

On December 10, 2007, Mr. Berry, then the Chairman of the Authority, began paving the way for the position of a paid executive director for the Authority. The Authority had one employee.

After bobbing to the surface a few times between 2008 and August of 2009, on August 10, 2009, during the Authority's illegal budget workshop, Chairman Berry, surfaced once again, like the great white whale, with his executive director position. This time the die was cast and the position was here to stay. The Authority now had two employees.

The following month, during the September 14, 2009 Board meeting, Dr. Waseem Khan discussed an Executive Director job description. This is not mentioned anywhere in the Authority's September minutes.

At the conclusion of the September 14th Board meeting, after the Executive Director job description was discussed, suddenly and without warning, Chairman Berry announced that he would be submitting his resignation from the LSHA Board, effective Friday, October 9, 2009.

At the October 12, 2009, Board meeting, Dr. Khan distributed an Executive Director job description to the Authority Board.

The fix – was it in?

During the Authority's subsequent meetings there were a few rounds of discussions, hemming and hawing, and board member Naylor's now familiar "where's the plan" refrain.

In January, the Board changed the official title of the Executive Director to the Authority Manager. Not much else changed, except that now, as typically goes on in Columbia County,  after Chairman Vann explained the uselessness of his college degree, it was determined that a college degree would not be required for the job, which would pay anywhere between $38,000 if it were part time, or $80,000 if it were full time. The Hospital Authority still had two employees.

A retired US military Colonel and a personnel expert, told the Observer:
That is an absolute abomination on that resume. That is an insult to everyone in Columbia County. I would also like to know what Army MOS code pertained to hospital administration and what rank he was. I have to stop now or I will stroke out.

The job position was advertised, the resumes were submitted, the interviews proceeded, and last night the position was awarded to the recently resigned Authority Board Chairman, Jack Berry.

Because of the recent scandal in Lake City regarding the educational claims of the past city manager, the Authority  Board made sure it checked and announced that it did check all the educational references of the candidates.

It is unknown if the Board requested Mr. Berry's DD214, which would have verified the claim on his fourteen line resume that he had Hospital Administration experience and education. No one asked about this at his interview.

All the present Board members, save for one, had Mr. Berry in the top spot. Board member Pattison, who was against the position, was absent from the meeting.

No one was surprised as business goes on as usual in Florida's infamous Columbia County.

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  • To find out more about Executive Director position • Go  here  - Call it a manager - call it a director - Call it another LSHA way to squander taxpayer dollars
 •  To find out more about the LSHA go here
See Mr. Berry's resume • Go here