George Skinner, former Columbia County
Commissioner, weighs in on the Florida Crown
Published March 16, 2009
The Columbia County Board of County Commissioners
recently moved to sever ties with the
Workforce Board (FCWB). This was the wrong thing to do.
Two of the reasons the Board cited were an unwillingness
to recognize the role of the Consortium and a lack of
communication with the BOCC. This is completely
false and inaccurate.
I was elected to the Board of County Commissioners
(BOCC) in November of 2000 and served two terms until
2008. During this time I was designated by the
BOCC to serve on the FCWB Consortium as the Columbia
County representative, along with fellow commissioners
from Dixie, Gilchrist and Union Counties.
My role, as outlined in the Interlocal Agreement
between FCWB and the County, was to nominate qualified
applicants to serve on the Board, review and facilitate
the approval of the Workforce Plan, and to serve as the
agency of last resort for any disallowed costs by FCWB,
of which there were none.
I regularly attended FCWB Board meetings and
I was briefed on every aspect of workforce
operations and budgetary information. On those
occasions when I was unable to attend the FCWB
meetings, the Executive Director always invited
me to his office for the presentation of the
material that was presented.
In August 2007, I was given an in-depth review of the
update to the Workforce Plan and Interlocal Agreement.
I found the Plan thorough and comprehensive and
forwarded it to the BOCC for their approval, as had been
routinely done in the past. This was the standard
operating procedure used by all four counties of the
In September 2007, I was surprised when Commissioner
Stephen Bailey was appointed to the Consortium in my
I was astounded when Commissioner Bailey immediately
began making accusations against Florida Crown, an
organization dedicated to providing workforce services
and improving the quality of skills and abilities of
jobseekers and youth.
I don’t ever recall Commissioner Bailey visiting
FCWB’s offices or One-Stop locations, nor can I recall
any times he met with the Executive Director or the
Board to discuss any of the allegations he was making
toward that organization.
In November 2007, Columbia County had still refused
to sign the Interlocal Agreement which Dixie, Gilchrist
and Union Counties had already signed.
Columbia County’s failure to approve the Interlocal
caused FCWB to seek a waiver from the State in order to
continue to deliver their indispensable services to
people of the region.
At least twice Commissioner Bailey called me and
sought to engage me in discussions concerning FCWB and
actions which he wished to bring before the County
Commission. I considered this a violation of the
Sunshine Law and I refused to engage in those
I always found FCWB to be an open and responsive
organization dedicated to serving the people of Columbia
County and surrounding region. They always went
beyond what was required to ensure that all the County
Commissions had all the information necessary to carry
out their responsibilities. Whenever I had a question
FCWB always provided full and complete answers.
FCWB has consistently been a top performing region
within the State. Because of the FCWB’s outstanding
performance it has repeatedly been awarded incentive
funds that were used to further help the region.
I always try to keep things in proper perspective by
keeping in mind that the most important thing is to
serve God and to care for His people. I believe that
FCWB is carrying out God’s work by caring for the needy
and less fortunate residents of our region.
The work of FCWB is non-political and must remain
free of egos and politics.
After serving as Columbia County’s representative on
FCWB for seven years, I find Columbia County’s motion to
sever ties with Florida Crown Workforce Board a
travesty, unconscionable and totally without merit.
I recommend that the Columbia County Commission sign
the Interlocal Agreement immediately, stop this
foolishness and spend their energy helping FCWB get
people back to work.
I remind the Columbia County Commission that this
county and the nation are in a time of crisis and not
only are they the public’s servants, something which
they seem to have forgotten, but they are servants of
God and on their Judgment Day they will have to answer
to him for their vendetta against the Florida Crown
George A. Skinner
Former Columbia County Commissioner