CCFC-A New Year, New Priorities

on Saturday, 09 January 2021.

Hello Friends:

With the commencement of a New Year, we believe there are certain challenges and opportunities that present themselves on behalf of our County and School System. Few good things happen by happenstance. Instead, an Agenda must be created to identify and address the issues we believe matter the most to you and us. We’d like to share with you our Top 10 list of priorities we believe deserve a focus on change for our County. Listed from easiest to hardest:

  1. End smoking on any county or school owned property. Just because a few county leaders smoke, they demonstrate themselves as terrible role models by doing so, it’s inappropriate to allow smoking on any County or School property.
  2. Identify and end the waste of time of County and School computers by employees using Facebook, eBay, Amazon and other such sites when they are easily blocked. Several years ago, the CCFC made a request to understand if this was a problem or not. Computer logs showed these three sites exceeded 30% of County bandwidth at that time. We suspect that personal use of computers and employee time wasted has only increased over time.
  3. Arrange greater accessibility to meetings. The BOCC has demonstrated it is stubbornly OPPOSED to meeting at night, and also meeting in outlying locations periodically. It is a slap in the face to the public that their accommodation is not considered when arranging meetings to better engage with the citizenry.
  4. We have new leadership in the School System. While it may take some time to turn the Educational System of Franklin County around, let’s not be like someone on a diet that refuses to look at a scale until he/she thinks they have lost a few pounds first. Let’s be honest with the public; establish where we are and what success looks like. Real metrics must be created and made public to keep the public engaged. Citizens and even the School Board must be able to compare and contrast ongoing progress or failure if that’s what has happened on a quarterly basis. It’s about being intellectually honest.
  5. Recently, Erin Griffith was appointed to a number of titled positions that essentially made her the County’s Chief Financial Officer. It is the CCFC’s position that there is insufficient oversight of Departmental and Constitutional purchases. Some purchases approach $1 million. We’d like to suggest that Ms. Griffith must counter sign county purchases that will exceed $10,000.
  6. There has never been(to our knowledge) an internal audit of accessible/spendable miscellaneous funds being held with an easy-to-understand explanation of the purpose of this or that Fund or bank account and why it is maintained. Having been involved with the budget process for years, we can attest that there is no introspection of those funds and usually they are never mentioned.We know of at least one large six figure fund that has not changed or been accessed in years.Why?
  7. It is long past time for us to professionalize the Economic Development function and give that responsibility to a single individual and make them accountable. The fact that we have a fragile three-legged economics tool, relying on tourism, aa fickle seafood industry and construction to support our workers. Alone these industries cannot offer the proper long-term financial opportunities we must have.
  8. In recent years we have increased the County millage rate above the Rollback. The county gives written instruction each year to their Departments and Constitutionals to turn in a budget without raises nor increased budgets and then talks about those additional budget requests at each year’s Budget Workshop. Then pay increases are added at the very end of the Budgeting process. We who watch the county budget process carefully see that County department employees are underfunded compared to Constitutional Departments who frequently take additional bonuses and raises on top of county increase. This creates animosity and a general sense of unfairness throughout the county ranks. Zero based budgeting should be standard to make sure each department does not become its own fiefdom as some have. The budgeting process is broken
  9. Weems Hospital needs to come clean. Recently, an individual with COVID came to Weems but was not allowed to enter. Apparently, a Doctor went outside, gave that person a Steroid shot,then sent them home. Weems took millions of dollars for COVID Stimulus and doesn’t actually do anything to support COVID patients. The fraud that Weems is a full-service hospital must no longer be advertised to the public by County Commissioners who also have stopped reporting Weems finances publicly. Weems is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars each month. Commissioners need to honestly understand that sometime in the next year ortwo, Weems will run out of money. The new County Budget Director Erin Griffith needs to be given honest monthly numbers and trend analysis so that she can provide reliable numbers and metrics to Commissioners for information and future action as required. We are prepared to help in that analysis.
  10. Every five years, every department and constitutional office should have a forensic audit to look at efficiency, best practice compliance and to make sure that they are complying with state rules and audit procedures. This is much more important and invasive than the existing required audit procedures. Such Forensic Audits are regularly done by many other counties.

We could write another 25 bullets,but just these ten, if actually discussed and implemented would go a long way towards reduction of taxes to our citizens and serve to improve public confidence.

WE are in the middle of our 2021 Membership Campaign. Please, please consider joining CCFC and send us your dues payment today, while you are still thinking about how our county behaves. Remember to add your email address with your check AND SEND to the address below. Dues are not tax deductible; our membership numbers and your financial support are vital to the CCFC continuing being your county watchdog.

God bless America and all of you!

Thank you.

Allan J. Feifer

Concerned Citizens of Franklin County, Inc.
P.O Box 990
Eastpoint, Florida 32328
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(850) 653-5571

“The Concerned Citizens of Franklin County, Inc. serves as a citizens’ advocate to ensure that our Franklin County governments are more open, affordable, efficient, and responsive to our citizens. The organization seeks to hold public officials accountable for their actions in the administration of their duties and in their fiduciary responsibilities to the taxpayers.”

Commissioner Contacts:

Commissioner Bert Boldt - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 519-4966

Commissioner Smokey Parrish - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 653-8790

Commissioner Ricky Jones - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 653-8861

Chairman Noah Lockley - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 653-4452

Commissioner Jessica Ward - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 653-9783

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