It is said by some, possibly many “Your blog is so negative”. I can guarantee it is not intentional. We are not singling out certain people or certain practices but for some reason all these things fall in our lap. And unfortunately or fortunately Joe and I are both direct.
Also when we are wrong, we state we are wrong but if we are right, we will state so until someone actually listens and possibly understands that what they may be doing is totally wrong and it needs correction. Yet it is frustrating as can be when one tries and tries to make someone understand that possibly, just possibly, if one used the tools they have or if they use the tools in a different way, the outcome may be better. Not it is better to just call us idiots and go on your way. The Pattern has not changed in years and it most likely will never change.
Yes much of our information comes directly from the Town, the minutes and our requests for public records and from that information a thread begins.
Let’s take the computer system for instance. We know the water bills changed but we wondered about the $7,500 software that former town manager, Bob Farley, suggested which the Town purchased. It didn’t appear that the Town used a different software system. We inquired about the system.
From there we found that Pam was not utilizing the system and Joe made calls to an officer and to Jasper. When making initial calls to Jasper, we also inquired into the Jewett Street Construction and were told by the County that they were just looking over their billings and that they found that the Town had not paid the $92k which was due them, adding that $20k of the overall pricing had been deducted.
Then apparently Hamilton County then contacted the Town and then Shirley didn’t understand the bill and had to have someone come to the Town of White Springs to assist her for a couple of hours (per her own statement).
Pam said that she didn’t pay based upon the Hamilton County spreadsheet because it was not an invoice and she thought after all this time, the County had decided to forgive the amount because the County is nice to White Springs.
Then our investigation continued into how Pam could not be trained into the IMS software; how she refused to learn even though her job description states that she must be capable of learning new software; how we not only expended the initial some eight hundred dollars for IMS training but that Margaret, her name was given to us by Jasper, had spent time also training Pam.
Then we find out that the CPA placed the amount due Hamilton County in and then out again as if it was paid per Miller because we have not seen the actual financial statements yet and White Springs of course is blaming the CPA; Miller stated Farley had no fault and blamed Lawrence and what one cannot understand is how the FEMA and State funds totaling the $92K ended up in the general fund, and a large amount was spent.
There was no credit balance in the amount of $92K payable to Hamilton County. And we have the poor “ME’s” because we finally had to pay Hamilton County.
Yes, by not paying Hamilton County we were able to float the money but that was not the case, the Town spent a good portion of it through the General Fund without ever looking or determining the money was not ours. There were no internal controls; Pam did her thing and no manager dared to question her or she will tell them off. She after all has been there fifteen years and does not have to change. Everyone else needs to change.
Frankly I have never worked with a company, agency or client who did not have internal controls; so some internal controls were suggested and dropped by the Council because we are too small to have internal controls. Wait, a simple internal control of a Town Manager checking the books monthly is not acceptable? To assure that the accounting matches the Bank balance is not acceptable? To assure money is not missing from a Grant like the $40k that disappeared? You have it; White Springs does not need internal controls.
Today we are still listening to the blame game. It is the CPA’s fault, it is Hamilton County’s fault because they said they were paid also, we didn’t have an invoice to pay on….but the spreadsheet stated the amount was payable to Hamilton County and who is innocent? Well it is not Shirley’s or Pam’s fault because after all they cannot be blamed, so then it is Farley’s fault and then it is Lawrence’s fault and now it is Stacy Tebo’s fault and the pattern continues that the Town can do no wrong. Yet, why couldn’t someone just call Hamilton County….the float per see was there for two years. Shirley was the interim manager before the Tropical Storm and during and she is the interim manager now. Lawrence advised her and Pam said they would not pay without an invoice, but they had one on the spreadsheet. We didn’t suffer as the paper said; we screwed up with other people’s money as we always do. And no one will say, “I really messed up” or “If I would have entered the appropriate lines of accounting, it would have been shown as a payable to Hamilton County.
Give me a break. The Jasper news was kind “Council wants answers from auditor”. Shirley should have been able to have determined the spreadsheet was an invoice showing the entire amount owed Hamilton County and if she couldn’t, she should have called Jasper and found out. Now we look bad to everyone around us. Even though the Jasper news wrote a very kind article, anyone reading it realizes those handling the funds, especially Pam, were at fault. If you do not believe us, try asking Pam for a record regarding accounting and see what you hear.
No it is simply synchronicity that these things fall in our lap and then we receive items in the mail and then someone e-mails us and I can’t tell you how many people have changed their mind about what Joe is about. Mr. Don R or whomever you are, said we are trying to look like heroes. No, we are not heroes nor are we trying to look that way. What we desire for the Town of White Springs is equal and fair justice under the law; actually following the laws, charter and ordinances; being rid of corruption; being rid of the bleeding of money; no special treatment for special folks; and the Town joining the 21st century. That is what we want and if we never get an ounce of credit but the Pattern Changes we will be happy campers knowing our fight was not in vain.
Karin Griffin for the blog