Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.


Letters to the editor


George Skinner, former Columbia County Commissioner, weighs in on the Florida Crown controversy.

Published March 16, 2009Skinner_2_2008

The Columbia County Board of County Commissioners recently moved to sever ties with the Florida Crown 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 Consortium.

In September 2007, I was surprised when Commissioner Stephen Bailey was appointed to the Consortium in my place.

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 discussions.

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 Workforce Board.

George A. Skinner

Former Columbia County Commissioner




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)