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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake City

City Manager Search Stalls - Starts. City Council in Disarray. Emerg Mtng Called - Conflicts w/The 5


Top Initial Rankings Spreadsheet, All Applications:  Available in Story

LAKE CITY, FL – Monday night at City Hall had the City Council searching for a way to rank and rate the 54 applicants for the City Manager spot, soon to be vacant with the retirement of Wendell Johnson, who is departing at the end of May.

Early this afternoon the rankings of all the Councilmembers were tallied. On Monday night, Councilman Jefferson did not have his rankings prepared, while Councilwoman Moses chose to hold on to hers and not turn them in.

    All 54 Applications

As mentioned in previous articles, applicants applied from all over the country. However, even though there were council members and members of the community who wanted to reach out into the business world along with advertising in the NY Times to increase the breadth, scope, and diversity of the applicant pool, the advertisement in the NY Times was never run.

The word was that advertising in the NY Times cost too much. The Observer was told that a onetime ad was approximately $400. The Lake City budget is quickly approaching $60 million.


   Applicant Tally Sheet: just the ranked candidates

The world of City Managers is mainly a white man's world inhabited by a quasi union of something like the international brotherhood of City-County Managers. Its working name is the ICMA.

Interestingly, the number two ranked candidate was a woman, who was the only candidate who was ranked on every Councilmember's score card.

City Residents are County Residents

For the first time in the decade that your reporter has been covering the County and the City, the City Council scheduled a council meeting on the night of a County Commission meeting.

This Thursday, all County residents will be confronted by the County 5 as they un-appropriate $8 million plus for a new admin center (the county is presently homeless and has been forever) and funnel the money into a jail building fund, which was apparently a County 5 scheme from the beginning.

Epilogue: (analysis)

For decades Columbia County/Lake City has been known as the Gateway to Florida. Even though two interstates converge in Lake City, economic and workforce development (that pays a living wage) has languished because of a third rate school district; good ole' boy cronyism second to none; and a constant war between Lake City and Columbia County.

Recently, primarily because of a lack of investment by Lake City, 400 HAECO jobs announced by the Governor in London went Greensboro, NC.

The concurrent meetings of the City and the homeless County 5 are just another example of the systemic and chronic dysfunction of the two governments.

Whoever the new city manager is, he or she has a big mountain to climb.

Columbia County/Lake City, Florida: the legend continues.

*corrections: grammar, Ms. Moses' tally sheet, location of HAECO jobs, spelling

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