Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
June 27, 2019 11:43 a.m.
On behalf of the Nassau County Economic Development Board (NCEDB), its chairman Roger Rassman has issued the following statement:
“In light of the recently released comments made by some Nassau County elected officials regarding our Executive Director, Laura DiBella, we as the Board of Directors are disappointed about the attack on her character and leadership. We would like to restate our total, complete and unqualified support for Ms. DiBella and her staff. We believe in her tenacity, dedication and invaluable expertise as the Executive Director of NCEDB.
“We remain steadfast in our mission as an organization to produce jobs, generate economic opportunity and improve quality of life for all residents of Nassau County.”
The NCEDB letter was prompted by characterizations of DiBella’s management in text messages allegedly exchanged between Nassau County Commissioners, County Attorney/Manager Mike Mullin, and various former and current county staff. DiBella is not a plaintiff or defendant in the Rayonier+Raydient complaint.
A company spokesman for Rayonier + Raydient notified the Fernandina Observer that it has requested permission to file an amended complaint against Nassau County. Attached to that complaint were many text messages, including the one mentioning DiBella. Alejandro Barbero, Rayonier Director of Strategic Development and Communication, said:
Through the course of limited discovery, including depositions of current and former County employees and the use of third party subpoenas, we (Rayonier + Raydient) have not only obtained further evidence that the Nassau County violated Florida’s Public Records Act (including obtaining additional responsive text messages from third parties), but such discovery also revealed that the Nassau County Commissioners met privately “outside of the sunshine” and discussed (both in person and through text messages) various ways they could try to pressure and harm Rayonier and Raydient and our development efforts within the County.
Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.