Criteria for valid public expenditures In order for an expenditure of public funds to represent a lawful expenditure, it should meet both of the following standards:
- Public purpose. A public purpose for the expenditure must exist.
- Authority. Specific or implied authority for the expenditure must arise out of a statute or from the Town’s charter. Specific authority usually is fairly clear. In contrast, whether a particular statute or charter provision implicitly provides authority for an expenditure often becomes subject to interpretation. Towns should consult with their city attorneys regarding whether implied authority for a specific expenditure exists.
- Does paying Stacy Tebo more than any other manager we have had, and yet allowing her to work only a four day week which does not follow the charter, serve the public interest?
- Does increasing the Sewer Rate 250% over and above any other municipality locally, serve the public interest? It probably may be required now for the renovation but certainly the Town did not save any money from the increased rates and now we must pay the loans for 25% portion or over $700,000.
- Does the utilization of Sewer and Water Funds for the General Fund serve the public interest?
- Does spending $250,000 from HCDA to build a park instead of its intended purpose of a business incubator serve the public interest?
- Does the Town’s inability to follow LDRs, the Charter, and the U.S. and Florida Constitutions serve the public interest?
- Does bias toward some citizens and allowing other citizens rights they should not have in similar circumstances serve the public interest? (Not following LDR’s and dropping any charges because of special interest and nepotism like in the Harris case)
- Do Meetings in the darkness and a lack of transparency serve the public interest?
- Does spending money without council approval serve the public interest? (paying an employee for two years when he was unable to work; Paying for Tebo’s attorney so that she could attack Helen Miller on groundless accusations; Making Anita River’s complaint a full blown attorney/depositions matter when the Council or at least two members were not even aware what was being done and then there was no council approval but Rhett blamed our Town Attorney for doing so.
- Does using your authority as an official of White Springs to incarcerate some and to walk others out of jail serve the public interest?
- Does spending money which should be utilized solely for Grants or Local Option Fuel Taxes and retained/ reserved in special accounts serve as the public interest?
- Does retaining inefficient personnel who are not performing the duties of their position well serve the public interest? (A good Town manager could have independent contractors handle accounting and wastewater treatment positions without expending benefits, FICA taxes, etc.)
- Does the refusals of officials to cut the General Fund budget by more efficiency serve the public interest?
- Does the poor treatment of our prior Fire Chiefs and volunteers serve the public interest? (Firing John Peeler and taking over $10,000 in donations and now Chief Kevin Pittman because the Town needed to favor Andrew Greene and provide him with his own personal vehicle and credit cards)
- Does shutting off water because of the high cost, and yet charging astronomical start up charges, and a “Deposit” which is never returned, so that people’s health may be at risk for lack of water and sanitation serve the public’s interest?
- Does ignoring complaints from Citizens, or, on their behalf, who have the interest of the Citizens at heart serve the public interests?
- Does Transportation money for Streets and Roads used in the General Fund rather than repairs to our infrastructure, serve a public purpose.
- Does The Excavator and its Trailer purchase when it may be used 5% of the time; when we have a backhoe which is paid for; and we could have leased an excavator when necessary, serve the public purpose?
Council members are elected or appointed to govern by and for these interests, acting as specialists on what best serves the local population. Therefore, a council’s written determination of a valid public purpose based on reasonable findings of fact, along with the advice of the city attorney, should not be underestimated.
- When were the citizens ever asked what their interests in making White Springs a better place to live ever asked?
- When have the officials ever went out into the public to ask the public what their thoughts may be or what problems they may have ever happened? Except of course when these officials want your vote; then they will be at your door and set up a site where they can campaign and tell you more lies about how they are good for you? But really, what have these officials really have done for you? Do they have your interests at heart? Do they have compassion for you in the prior poor economy? I would say absolutely not.
Judicial review focuses on (1) whether the expenditure benefits the community as a whole; and (2) whether the expenditure relates to the functions of government of whether specific expenditures qualify as a proper use of public funds. II. Common questions on public spending Common questions often arise from public officials regarding certain public expenditures.
- Since the Town of White Springs refuses to abide by the law and place the public’s interest first above their own agendas, the only thing left are the courts. And maybe, just maybe, someone from the State of Florida will investigate the lack of Public Interest and the Corruption in White Springs, or possibly the FBI will investigate after the government closing ends.
In determining whether illegal activities are substantial, it must be borne in mind that actions by members and officers of a Town do not always reflect on the Town itself. Because Towns act through individuals, it is necessary to distinguish those activities of individuals that are done in an official capacity from those that are not. Only
(1) acts by Town officials under actual or purported authority to act for the Town,
(2) acts by agents of the Town within their authority to act, or
(3) acts ratified by the Town
should be considered as activities “of the Town.”
Karin for the blog