Why is the Town of White Springs setting itself up by letting Tommie Jerome Jones believe that he is a “Consultant” a/k/a as an “Independent Contractor”?
We know that since a Town Manager’s duties are those usual to a Town’s operation and since the Florida Right of Control Laws state would show that Mr. Jones is an “Employee” In other words the work is part of the regular business of the employer, the Town of White Springs. Furthermore the Town supplies the instrumentalities, tools and place of work for Mr. Jones and Mr. Jones is required to supervise all employees in the Town of White Springs. It also may be stated that the Town of White Springs Town Council dictates what they require Mr. Jones to handle. This control includes but is not limited to the amount of pay Mr. Jones receives as well as the amount received per hour and the number of hours worked per week for a six month period. Mr. Jones does not bill the Town or set the amount of pay he wishes to receive, which would not matter because of Florida Law.
Now Mr. Jones is now having his checks made out to Countyline Design Business Services Inc, to show that he is a consultant, having a separate account but this only adds to a tax dilemma in the manner in which the Town is handling the matter. The Town previously owed the IRS money more than once because its reporting features were incorrectly done. Now we have a further dilemma in Mr. Jones’s situation.
(1) FICA Tax was taken out of the first check of which there is no longer a record. As a Town manager Mr. Jones would pay 6.2% of his earnings for Social Security Retirement benefits and the Town of White Springs would pay 6.2% for a total of 12.45% of his earnings.
(2) If Mr. Jones considers himself a consultant as he has been told by our Attorney and believes, as a self-employed person of a corporation, Mr. Jones would be responsible for both halves of both taxes for a total of 15.3% of his net business earnings. These taxes must be reported on Schedule SE with its income tax returns. Self-employed persons can deduct the employer-equivalent portion of self-employment tax in figuring out the adjusted gross income.
(3) The IRS recently came out with a Chief Counsel Ruling (IRS Info. Ltr. 01-0069) that says there are certain circumstances when a person can fill both employment roles at the same company – at the same time. If Mr. Jones is a consultant for computer services and design, he would need a check cut to Countyline Design Business Services, Inc. for those services which he would bill the Town and a second check issued to Tommie Jerome Jones as an employee acting as Town Manager whereby the Town takes out his FICA taxes for the hours worked as a Town Manager. Without handling the matter this way, with documentation, the IRS will have a field day and with Mr. Jones’ checkered background, the IRS may consider all actions illicit unless documented. This places White Springs in a precarious position. .
The Council and Mr. Jones refer to Mr. Jones as a Town Manager or an Interim Town Manager with a sign in front of Town Hall listing Mr. Jones as an “Interim Town Manager”. I have an outline of the laws which have been broken by this Council and our Attorney in the misuse of their positions so that Mr. Jones would not have to fill out an application, take a drug test and have a background check as Mr. Jones considers such to be discriminatory and racist. Yet all prior managers, including Stacy Tebo had to complete an application take a drug test and have a background check. The Council and possibly our Attorney all had knowledge of Mr. Jones’s past record, but because it was when Mr. Jones was a younger man with the last infraction in the 2000’s, hopefully none of those crimes will again happen. Yet by this favoritism, the Council is placing the Town in an IRS dilemma again and furthermore not following Florida Law regarding the definition of an independent contractor by statute, this matter needs to be resolved immediately.
Furthermore, there is the matter of Workers Compensation Insurance as well as General Liability Insurance. We heard where the payroll and possibly the classifications have never been placed on the insurance or in accounting matters correctly. But in the event Mr. Jones becomes injured on the job, will the Town pay Mr. Jones as an employee. Under the circumstances, even if Mr. Jones claims he is a consultant, but has no insurance for himself, the Town of White Springs will be responsible for such injury or death. And because Mr. Jones is listed on documents as a Town Manager including his contract with the Town of White Springs, Mr. Jones then would be construed an employee of the Town.
As an independent contractor, consultant, Mr. Jones does not provide General Liability coverage through his corporation, and as a result, if there is negligence on his part which causes injury or damage, our policy through the Florida Municipal Trust would be responsible to the injured party.
Councilors, you have not only placed our Town Attorney in a precarious position but are not handling your fiduciary responsibilities in placing our Town in jeopardy by reason of Tommie Jerome Jones not wishing to fill out an application, take a drug test and perform a background check with his former employers, etc. Please read the entire complaint and determine your next step so that we the people will not have to pay more money for the Council’s errors and omissions.
Joe E. Griffin, Town Activist