Timeline Summation of the Tommie scenario of Consultant

What is the Mayor’s role in a council-manager form of government per the Florida League of Cities

Mayors in council-manager communities (or chairpersons in counties) are key political leaders and policy developers. In the case of the council, the mayor is responsible for soliciting citizen views in forming these policies and interpreting them to the public. The mayor presides at council meetings, serves as a spokesperson for the community, facilitates communication and understanding between elected and appointed officials, assists the council in setting goals and advocating policy decisions, and serves as a promoter and defender of the community. In addition, the mayor serves as a key representative in intergovernmental relations. The mayor, council, and manager constitute a policy-development and management team.

Who is responsible for blame

Our Town Charter States:

Section 2.06 Powers and Duties of the Mayor and Council.

(a) Mayor:

(1) Presiding Officer.  The Mayor shall be the presiding officer of the Town Council and shall conduct all meetings in accordance with Roberts Rules of Order.  The Mayor shall vote on all matters as a regular member of the office.

(2) Official Head.  The Mayor shall be recognized as the official head of the Town by the courts, by the Governor for the exercise of military law and for all ceremonial services.

 

So the Mayor, the Attorney and Jones seem to be complicit in this scheme to be non-transparent to the Citizens of White Springs.

 

Tommie Jones was decided upon as our interim Town Manager on October 17, 2020

Since much of Mr.Jones conversation could not be understood, we elected to secure the Town Tape before reporting it on the blog.

We had no idea that Tommie Jones had a checkered past prior to his being hired, but determined that he must have when Joe Griffin advised Tommie Jones that he would need a background check and drug test.  That is when all Hell broke Loose and Nicole Williams, a relative of Jones sent out  despicable blog and Facebook comments and Mr. Jones started telling everyone that we were racists and that he did not need a background check because no one else had one, which was not true.  Then we knew there was more, which somehow the Newspaper knew first.  But of course, because Joe wished to assist Tommie, as did I initially, he said Joe’s offer was bribery, and spread all over that Joe bribed him not knowing the elements of bribery and that we had not offered him anything except our assistance.

Then on October 16th, at 8:21 PM, Joe drafted an email to Helen Miller Pam Tomlinson and Meagan Logan asking whether the town or they personally had received information about Tommie Jones’ fitness to be interim Town Manager, especially any and all criminal activity which he had been told about from a reliable source.  No response because the meeting was the next morning at 8:00 am.

AND THIS IS WHAT THE COUNCIL STATED AT THE OCTOBER 17TH MEETING: 

The purpose of the October 17th Special Meeting per Mayor Miller is the “Discussion and appointment of interim town manager”Mayor Miller stated there was a Recommendation on Wed Nite (By Anita Rivers)  and Tommie Jone is here – no other individual is here

Councilman Walter McKenzie stated that a good town manager needs to be resourceful. He stated that the area Tommie Jones has to deal with ,which he feels Mr. Jones will be good at is to bring people together.  People take sides but a good town manager will not take sides and will find a solution, he stated.   McKenzie said that he hopes if Mr. Jones takes the job, he will get the people back together because we are on the same team.  And if you have a good team they will stand behind you.  McKenzie ultimately said that working with the staff here, one can say what they ought to do but we are a small town of 800 people and we can’t just fire people, we have to work with people because it is hard to get replacements.  He said Tommie Jones will have to work with staff from a psychological, technical and financial standpoint.

Walter McKenzie also stated he hopes the feeling he has about you is correct because he feels this is a challenge that Tommie Jones can step up to.

Anita said the software will cost around $12,000 and Helen asked the Chief whether we had some of that hardware. Tommie Jones stated we have to control user access, etc.  Mayor Miller doesn’t want the same thing to happen to White Springs that happened to Lake City regarding ransom. Our system has to be protected and Cyber security important.

Mr. Jones advised that he is Not good in networking but data base administration. 

Mayor Miller stressed Tommie Jones has had a 40 year career.(even if he had no Town Manager experience)  Helen said that we need an interim town manager half time of 20 hours a week to begin the process. She then asked Mr. Jones about his commitments.  Mr. Jones brought up his dad up who he takes to adult day care.   Mr. Jones drops him off and his wife who works at HCP picks his dad up.  He can be back in town at 9:30 a.m..  The Council then decided that Mr. Jones hours would be from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 pm five days a week.Drop him off and Wife is HCP works and picks dad up – wife.   Back at 9:30.  Then they decided 10:00 to 2:00 pm

Walter McKenzie told Mr. Jones that it is an exempt position  Councilman Tom Moore stated that he had a feeling Tommie Jones will be putting in more time than just the 20 hours.  It’s an exempt position and Tom said he has a feeling Tommie will put in more time.   It was stressed that Mr. Jone’s hours were flexible.  (Note with Walter McKenzie advising that this is an exempt position, it was referring to an employee situation not a consultant.   This Council is very confused. )

McKenzie said that Tommie Jones will be the bridge and become the interim manager.   And in time we may hire someone else or Mr. Jones may love it some much that he will become the full time manager.  He stated we don’t know where this is going and where it is going to end up but Mr. Jones will span that bridge now. Tommie Jones indicated that he’s making pretty good money with his full time pension from Florida.  He will be 62.

Did you have any idea from the aforementioned that Tommie Jones was a consultant? Was there anything discussed about his checkered past yet supposedly all of the Council knew as did the Jasper News at that point?

 

In the meantime Joe Griffin kept asking the Town for Mr. Jones’ application, his background check etc. which is usual to an employee and has been done by all previous managers.

At the October 30th special meeting, we finally received a verbal answer as to why Jones did not have to comply with an application, etc.  Attorney Logan said that Jones was hired as a “Consultant”, not as an employee.  After speaking with Ms. Logan after the meeting I sent her Florida’s rulings by statute based upon an Employer’s control, and nothing transpired. 

Then Joe and I made a complaint against Helen Miller regarding her acting as a Strong Form of Mayor coming in almost every day and especially on Tuesdays.. And then a complaint  followed against our Town Attorney with all criteria from control to the IRS.  She was angry and gave us the following written response at the February Council Meeting to which Joe’s complaints had no validity of course, and for which Tonja Brown became the victim after she wanted more time to review the information and did not vote.

 

This is what Mayor Miller stated:

 

 

When confronted with the need to secure a chief administrative officer after being given notice of Ms. Tebo’s resignation, who at the time was the Town Manager, the Town Council acted to retain an interim town manager using a consulting contract with Mr. Tommie Jones, President and Owner of CountyLine Design Business Services, Inc.   Mr. Jones is a full-time resident of White Springs.

As you will recall, the contract which was issued was not a “Contract” but an Agreement and the “Agreement” made no mention that Jones was a consultant nor did it state he was the President and Owner of CountyLine Design Business Services Inc.   The citizens had no real information from a Public Meeting about Mr. Jones Checkered Past, nor did they know he was a consultant until it was stated verbally and it wasn’t mentioned in the Article of the Jasper News nor was his firm “Countyline Design”.

Mayor Miller continued in her complaint denial that the Council and the Town Attorney acted in good faith to identify and retain an interim Town Manager to administer the Town’s affairs.  Council and the Town Attorney had no corrupt intent, and did not secure special benefit for themselves, nor for Mr. Jones who was retained through agreement with his consulting firm, CountyLine Design Business Services, Inc.  

Of course we have requested his business agreement or contract with Countyline Design, because although Mr. Jones personally was paid in his first check with a deduction for FICA, the Citizens have never been told in a Public Meeting whether there is a contract with “Countyline Design”.  If there was a contract it was done in the darkness to hide it from the public.  The fact that we were not told when Mr. Jones was hired that it was the intent of the Council to hire Mr. Jones as a CONSULTANT Town Manager and about his CHECKERED PAST shows that Mayor Miller and the Council intentionally were not transparent to the Citizens of White Springs.  That could not have been an accident or it would have been addressed at a meeting before or after Mr. Jones was hired.

As for the Attorney, the actual contract which was drafted and discussed made no referral to “Countyline Design” only Tommie Jones .Nor was there a clear statement that Mr. Jones was an independent contractor.  In fact the Agreement should have been a contract so it would be legally enforceable   And when changed to a Contract, it should have been stated some form that A regular, ongoing relationship of indefinite term is not contemplated.  The Recipient has no right to assign services to the Contractor other than as specifically contemplated by this agreement.  However the parties may initially agree that the Contractor shall perform other services for the Recipient, pursuant to the terms of this Agreement.

RELATIONSHIP OF PARTIES:  It is understood by the parties that the Contractor is an independent contractor with respect to the Recipient, and not an employee of the Recipient.  The Recipient will not provide fringe benefits, including health insurance benefits, paid vacation or any other employee benefit, for the benefit of the Contractor.

It is contemplated that the relationship between the Contractor and the Recipient shall be a non-exclusive one.  The Contractor also performs services for other organizations and/or individuals.  The Recipient has no right to further inqire into the Contractor’s other activities.

It seems unrealistic that when this matter is so convoluted that if one were going to look at our Payments to “Countyline Design” when there is no agreement, reference or contract with Countyline Design, one would wonder what the Town is doing.  Yet Mayor Miller found no validity in Joe’s complaint and stated something which was not in the contract, it is hard to determine what was intentional and what is not.  But I can tell you from the standpoints of the Courts, what is in writing and what is in a contract, not an agreement, will stand up in court and not verbal innuendos or a written statement which does not follow the Agreement, nor which was indicated in any Public Meeting minutes  

Even though the Griffin’s complaint included information relative to what makes an Independent Contractor as compared to an employee It was done because of our concern that White Springs would be charged with the FICA violation or other fines in the future.  Yes, there were no violations at that time, but there seems to be some violations of the law now especially with a cover-up and agreements that are not valid or which do not include the appropriate information. There is a Direct Transparency Problem or Lack thereof  of public information to the Citizens other than on our blog.  And we were only concerned about the Corrupt nature of this matter. 

Unfortunately for the Town the courts would state you had warning and you also had an Attorney who should have known that all the T’s were crossed.  It does look like Fraud, and subsequently what is the difference of Tommie Jones working, but his Corporation is being without an agreement.  And if Tommie Jones is signing the checks to his corporation or even one of the Councilors, it does not look good.  It reflects on what transpired in the Hutcherson case. Why are we not paying the person who is the interim manager/employee but paying his consulting company who is not doing the work? Not only do we have an attorney but a CPA forensic analyst who could have advised the town correctly.  Now it looks like even staff and professionals are complicit as well as the Mayor who gave direction for all of this. .  Contracts are important, and we cannot have simple agreements or it causes question whether there was Fraud and Theft.

Leave a Reply