If you’re running short of funds and could use a few thousand extra bucks then head downtown to City Hall and ask the Fernandina Beach City Commission to dip into the taxpayer’s till for a “no questions asked, no contract” deal and see if they’ll ask City Manager Joe Gerrity to cut you a check.
Four of the current commissioners did exactly that more than a year ago when failed commission candidate and community gadfly Lynn Williams was granted $8,000 for a dredging plan that has yet to materialize and for which he won’t or can’t account. In fact Williams became downright indignant when Mayor Ed Boner rightly asked him how the money is being spent and Williams spouted some mumbo-jumbo answer about “turbidity” and state environmental and fish and wildlife bureaucracies.
Mayor Boner proceeded to question Williams for an accounting of the eight grand saying, “I’ve had several people ask me how much money has been spent so far to construct the working model. Just some requests for basic accounting: how much has been spent, how much is left?”
An indignant Williams unashamedly told the mayor, “Ask them to call me. In our proposal there was never any intention of trying to itemize or be specific on what this would cost. To this day, I don’t know what it will cost to see it to the end.” At one point Williams said he spent about $3,600 of our tax money on hardware for his test machine, but didn’t produce any evidence.
When the mayor pressed Williams saying “I need to get more numbers” Williams blatantly replied, “I’m not giving you more numbers. I don’t have them.”