THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS RESPOND
TO YOUR INQUIRIES 1, 2 AND 5 of your letter dated February 7, 2018
Anita Rivers, while employed as the Administrative Assistant for White Springs submitted a complaint by electronic mail of discrimination. It was sent to Town Attorney Frederick L. Koberlein, Jr., esquire, Mayor Rhett Bullard and Town Manager Stacy Tebo. (See Addendum 2 for the address of Attorney Larkin.)
Anita Rivers was hired as the Administrative Assistant during Dr. Helen B. Miller’s tenure as mayor. The two had an excellent relationship due to Ms. River’s efficiency and adaptability to learn and perform any tasks which were given to her.
You will see in Addendum 3 that Ms. Tebo was unhappy about the aforementioned relationship because of her dislike for Dr. Miller.
Rhett Bullard in his protection of Ms. Tebo told her to have Fred Koberlein secure Robert Edward Larkin, III, Esquire, to handle the Anita Rivers’ Case. Attorney Larkin had recently assisted Mr. Koberlein in a Lake City Employment Case where the case was awarded in favor of the City.
When Ms. Tebo contacted Town Attorney Frederick L. Koberlein, Jr. to secure Robert Edward Larkin in the Rivers’ case, both attorneys were told that the White Springs Town Council had approved their hiring to make an investigation in this case.
Ms. Rivers intended for our Town Attorney Koberlein to assist her in her complaint of discrimination and as a whistle blower into the actions of Town hall. Ms. Rivers had no intention to secure an attorney at the time but only to settle her claim of discrimination against Town Manager Stacy Tebo.
Prior to Ms. Rivers’ March 27, 2017 complaint, the “power of three” led by Mayor Rhett Bullard dismissed all complaints made by citizens; even if the laws which were listed on the complaint forms, had been violated. This included a petition signed by numerous citizens, who are African-Americans, relating to a May Day Celebration. It was just ignored by Rhett Bullard even though councilor McKenzie said the Town should respond..
Town Attorney Koberlein also addressed that “Robert’s Rules of Order” per the Town Charter are required to be abided by. Rhett Bullard’s response was that we are a small town and cannot be expected to follow those rules. When questioned, Rhett Bullard stated “You want us to admit we did not follow the law?”
The Rivers’ case was not made public nor to councilors Dr. Miller and Walter McKenzie until the money for Attorney Larkin was addressed in the council meeting. Our Town Attorney Frederick Koberlein secured a court reporter and the building under which statements were taken under oath. His total charge including legal services was $13,965.22 with Attorney Larkin charging $12,000 for his legal services, for a total of ‘$25,965.22, which again was not approved by Town Council.
Rhett Bullard made no attempt to mediate the situation between Stacy Tebo and Anita Rivers but he felt that he could hire an outside attorney through our own Town Attorney without securing full council approval. When Rhett Bullard was asked why council approval was not sought, he just stated “he didn’t do it, our Town Attorney did”. In other words, Rhett Bullard was placing all blame and liability on our Town Attorney. That money had to be carried over into our 2018 budget because we did not have the funds.
In the meantime, Frederick L. Koberlein and Robert Edward Larkin, III, felt or were told there had been council approval for their legal services. In fact Attorney Larkin thanked the White Springs Council for hiring him in the summary provided to White Springs. The Town’s clerk refused to send us the paperwork in the Rivers’ case but Mr. Larkin did by electronic mail. (See Addendum 3 for Stacy Tebo’s sworn statement)
Due to the aforementioned statement under oath by Ms. Tebo and other staff, it was found that Police Chief Rodriquenz found what she described as a pill which she felt was an opioid in the unisex bathroom and later found one on the floor of the woman’s bathroom. Upon her asking who lost the pill, Stacy Tebo admitted it was hers and that it was Percoset. (See both Addendum 4 and Addendum 3 –Page 87-21 of the Statements under Oath).
To respond to Inquiry 5, Frederick Koberlein advised the Council at a regular council meeting that Stacy Tebo’s contract had not been renewed from September of 2016. Counselors Dr. Helen Miller and Walter McKenzie brought up the findings that Ms. Tebo was using Percoset, an opioid drug. As such, they had concern about renewing her contract without an investigation regarding her drug use and whether the drug had actually been prescribed. This especially was true due to the apparent mood swings Ms. Tebo seems to have; rendering her to remain in a closed door office for most of the day, sending e-mails as any form of communication to the Town Staff.
Rhett Bullard interrupted Dr. Miller several times and appeared to be screaming at her, telling Dr. Miller that she could not discuss Stacy Tebo’s medical condition. He stated it was private; however, Town Attorney Koberlein concurred with Dr. Miller that the statements made regarding her use of Percoset was a matter of public record.
Rhett Bullard then decided to quash this discussion and asked Attorney Koberlein whether he could prepare an extension to Stacy Tebo’s contract. Attorney Koberlein said he could not do that and until the matter is decided with a new contract Ms. Tebo was an “at will” employee and he explained the term of “at-will employee” at the public meeting.
Not listening to Attorney Koberlein, Rhett Bullard then said, we will extend the contract for ninety (90) days and the remaining power of three made the motion and seconded it for a verbal three month extension which Attorney Koberlein corrected since an extension could not be made to the existing contract verbally or in writing.
Rhett Bullard stated a discussion of Ms. Tebo’s contract would take place at a special meeting in the near future. He continually called the ninety days, an extension even though he had been corrected even by me that Ms. Tebo was an “at will” employee.
Thereafter, Rhett Bullard and the Town Manager, who admitted she disliked Dr. Miller under oath, decided to rid themselves of Dr. Miller by forfeiting her seat. I was told that Rhett Bullard, Stacy Tebo and Finance Director/City Clerk Tomlinson went through various records for a period of two weeks to see what they could find against Dr. Miller.
In a subsequent meeting, Rhett Bullard had Stacy Tebo read various accusations made against Dr. Miller. These Accusations initially involved some old items for which Dr. Miller had council approval when she was Mayor. Rhett Bullard would not allow Dr. Miller a chance to respond, unlike what the Jasper News Printed. Dr. Miller had not received a copy of the complaints which Ms. Tebo verbally read.
Within a week a new set of complaints showed up in the Jasper News/Suwannee Democrat. Yet Dr. Miller had not initially seen the complaints nor had she been provided with the listing, except for what was printed in the newspaper.