This week’s Folio examines the JAA Board retreat held this week at posh Amelia Island. Folio Weekly’s article expresses concerns over public accessibility to a meeting subject to the Sunshine Law that was being held out of the county and at a gated resort. JAA’s Michael Stewart response? “I’m sorry you think we would do business like that.”
But this isn’t the first time that the JAA Board has held a retreat there. Let’s flash back to 2002.
According to a March 29, 2002 Times Union article,
The Jacksonville Airport Authority spent nearly $13,000 on a two-day retreat for staff and board members on Amelia Island in January. But the head of the authority said he plans to conduct such retreats every six months, and board members said the expense was justified. Costs for the Jan. 18-19 retreat at the Amelia Island Plantation included $35.95 for 14 soft drinks and a $1,444.50 dinner bill for 25 people.
The largest portion of the 2002 retreat cost was a $5,400 bill from professional meeting facilitator Bruce Barcelo of Barcelo & Co. Barcelo moderated the retreat, but the invoice listed no itemized hours.
(As an aside, you might recognize Bruce Barcelo’s name from another Jacksonville Politics post. Just who is paying Bruce to attend the Mayor’s Trail Ridge Landfill meetings anyway?)
So getting back to Amelia Island, I’m guessing that Amelia Island prices probably haven’t gone down over the past 6 years. The 2002 news article makes me wonder exactly how much the two day retreat at Amelia Island this week cost taxpayers. According to Michael Stewart’s way of thinking, I should be sorry for thinking that JAA would do business like that, too. But I’m not.