When I think it can’t get any worse…it does. I am appalled at the behavior of Chairman McDaniel, Commissioner McLemore and Commissioner Smiley at the most recent BOCC meeting. Why are these men so determined to silence Commissioner Bryan?
This Board has gone to extreme measures to stop her from gathering information. On April 8, 2014 while the county attorney, county administrator and District 5 County Commissioner were absent, an ordinance was passed that, in my opinion, should have been tabled until everyone was available to thoroughly discuss it.
The ordinance is all about outlining the duties, responsibilities and authority of the county administrator. For the most part, the ordinance follows state statutes but in certain areas words and phrases are omitted. For example, the statute says one of the county administrator’s duties is to provide the board, or individual members thereof, with information concerning county government. The ordinance passed by the BOCC does not include “or individual members thereof.” Reading further, the ordinance gives the county administrator the authority to select and employ all personnel under the jurisdiction of the board. An entire sentence from the statute is omitted – which reads as follows: However, the employment of all department heads shall require confirmation by the board of county commissioners.
I do not believe these omissions were inadvertent. I believe these omissions were a direct effort to place obstacles in Commissioner Bryan’s path. Why was it necessary to pass this ordinance on April 8?
Regarding the variance for Ellis Smith…he requested his variance for a lot he created by dividing one lot into two and then having his son divide it again. In reading the Gulf County Land Development Regulations it is clear to me that a parcel cannot be divided twice through the minor replat process by an owner or his/her relative. Further, by dividing the parent parcel twice he created, by his actions, the need for a variance. Variances are granted for hardship and one of the stated restrictions is if the variance is needed due to action by the property owner. I would say Mr. Smith created his own hardship and it is my opinion this variance (nor the minor replat) should have been allowed. With the county attorney out-of-town, why was it necessary to grant Mr. Smith’s variance April 8? I know this variance request was tabled from the last BOCC meeting and I think it should have once again been tabled until the county attorney is present to clarify these issues. Again, why the rush?
Lastly, I will address the removal of Ms. Bryan from the Apalachee Regional Planning Council Board of Directors. Exactly what was her crime? Sitting on a board (any board) is a responsibility, not a resume enhancer. ARPC Directors have a fiduciary responsibility when overseeing public money. Their job is not to insure any single applicant receives a loan. Loans provided by the ARPC are for companies that are high risk to start with. I quote Michael Hammond, April 8, 2014. “We’re not lending to AAA companies. This is folks that cannot get traditional financing. Either they’ve got bad credit or they’ve got no collateral or the bank won’t lend them money; it’s a risky business or whatnot. And we (the ARPC) lose money from time-to-time.”
That does not mean an applicant shouldn’t get a loan but this is a high-risk pool and the directors should closely scrutinize all applications and not just rubber stamp loans strictly on staff recommendations. Again, this is public money.
The ‘good old boys’ have had it their way for so long without anyone questioning their actions. Now, an intelligent, articulate and well educated board member is looking into things they don’t want to address. Their response is to act like thugs and bullies. I am quite certain none of the male members of the BOCC would stand for their wife (or any other female relative) to be treated the way they treat Commissioner Bryan. Once again, Chairman McDaniel has proven his inability to lead by allowing a fellow commissioner to insult her and to disregard the facts she is trying to bring out on so many different issues. They speak of wanting the truth and the facts…they want their truth and their facts. What are these men so afraid?
I continue to implore the citizens of Gulf County to stand up and be counted. These men are abusing their power and thumbing their noses at the hardworking people of our county. The reason they continue to get away with their shenanigans is because they can. Edward R. Murrow said it perfectly: A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves. We are surrounded by wolves at all levels of government. If, we the people, don’t take a stand now – then when?
Port St. Joe