The October 17th meeting where Tommie Jones was decided upon as our interim Town Manager

Joe received the disc for the October 17th meeting so we could tell you what the actual motion was. Somehow my computer stopped prior to the motion being made and I am hoping that the disc didn’t actually stop with the information I have. In any event, Joe is now reviewing it through his computer. At least I now have what happened. You will note everything pertains to “town manager” and interim and nothing said he was a consultant. Furthermore Walter McKenzie stated he was exempt as to the flexibility of his hours so that means also Jones is an employee and not a consultant independent contractor.

October 17, 2019 Special  Meeting 8:00 am

All Five Council members attended –

The purpose of the Special Meeting per Mayor Miller is the “Discussion and appointment of interim town manager”

Mayor Miller stated there was a Recommendation on Wed Nite and Tommie Jone is here – no other individual is here

Mayor Miller then asked whether Jones would you like to make a statement of himself and his background

Mr. Jones indicated the Town of White Springs needs its own project software milestones and finances to capture everything that needs to be done   Mr. Jones was 27 when he attended St. Thomas University  for seven consecutive years while working for Broward County and he received a 3.1 grade average from this Catholic School which he started in 1987.  When he first started St. Thomas in 1987 each course was $313 a course and when he finished it was $1,033 a course.  The University had small classrooms and knowledgeable instructors.

His prior employer did not want him to leave but with the majority of people who had left, with the new people,  there was Underperformers and doing the work so was tiresome so Tommie left.  At the time he had 255 computers to oversee.  He said the Networking group hard to deal with.  And Tommie Jones explained he has no networking background. This however is what a computer networker does so I am uncertain what Tommie’s background is:  Computer networkers, or network and computer systems administrators, are responsible for conceiving, designing and implementing computer networks for organizations. They monitor computer system security and perform maintenance procedures.

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.  He told  told Councilwoman Anita Rivers that $900 too much to pay to an IT firm.   He asked then how many computers  the Town had and no one could give a clear answer.   Jones said it will cost the town up front but once it is set up we can purchase the support.  We do have some of the Hardware and Mayor Miller indicated that we purchased some hardware (It was hardware or software Bob Farley desired when Helen Miller was mayor previously, which we use for the Enterprise system but Pam does not use it). Jones stated he will look at it and that he has many connections who will assist him

Tonja wanted a copy of the resume so people in the community could  look at it on paper  They want to see it and she needs it in black and white to show the people.

Mayor Miller stressed Tommie Jones has had a 40 year career.  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.

Mayor Miller indicated owners of the properties are making contact with White Springs.  Genoa Industrial Park and 60 acres of land north of the library are being developed and Tommie Jone’s Water and Sewer knowledge will be beneficial. Mayor Miller stated these individuals will require flexibility when you can meet with them and filling your schedule and ours (the council).  She Stated that Jone’s resume, his personality and background demonstrates that he can do it.   Tommie Jones said he can do it.  He said they need to get their project done also and they have people they have to report to also.  He said that he will need direction from the council.  The County is involved in the projects.

Mayor Miller advised Mr. Jones that he needed to start with the data security.  She said they had talked about it in the summer before the budget was made but it did not come up in the budget.  She said a good place for Mr. Jones to start would be with the IT group based in Gainesville and to get a network report from the vendor.  

Then she advised Pam that she needed to add to the website that we have an interim town manager to make certain there are no obstacles.  Tommie Jones said he can e-mail a photo to Pam.

She also advised Pam that Anita Rivers has to be listed as councilwoman on the sign outside and that Tommie Jones  should be listed as interim town manager….paint doesn’t cost that much.    

Tommie Jones stated he would get together with Stacy Tebo as well and was told her last day is November 8th.  It was stated by Mayor Miller that Ms. Tebo had two days with Interminm Town Manager Shirley Heath.

Mayor Miller then stated  that Mr. Jones needs to get a list of Contracts and Grants from Ms. Tebo.   The most important Grants at this time are the CBDG Grant for the community Center for which we wish to make the building hurricane proof and the USDA Grant for a Fire Engine which will be discussed at the October 24th meeting.  Then there is the FERD ap for the Parks grant program for the ballfield.  

She then gave Mr. Jones Louis Goodin’s (County Coordinator’s) telephone number so he could get together with Mr. Goodin and discuss the Genoa Industrial Park.   She said Mr. Goodin has a short fuse on this for us to provide a treatment plant.  What the Town can do and should do.  It means 25 jobs to the area.

By November 1st, we have to send a request form for funding to operate the Water System which needs repairs, and possibly a water tower replacement and pipes so we can have capacity to the downtown. This must go to Senator Montford so our request can be seen by the legislature.  She explained that part of the reason for the closing of SHE was that there was insufficient water pressure to fight a fire at that location.   The Town has to demonstrate they have water pressure to fight a fire at that location.   Mittauer is handling the sanitary sewer and can assist for the water funding for water distribution. They can provide an overview of what they know about the treatment facility and the water plant. 

Walter McKenzie then advised Mr. Jones that we discussed the important work but that he needs to enjoy some of the other aspects of being a Town Manager.  McKenzie said he gets involved in tourism.  One of the areas which is important is the Bike Association who have purchased some $500,000 of property in this area.  The Bike Association has six events a year  and they donate bicycles to the children at Breakfast for Santa. They are a non profit willing to do as much as they can and at some point we need to make sure the water is running.

This is where it ended.

Karin for the blog

P.S. The reason you did not get information on this meeting previously is because I am having problems understanding his “Black” Dialect and grammar and I am hoping that I can reasonably understand him in the future because while some say how good he is in explaining things, I am not understanding him.

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