We have never misrepresented the fact that Joe and I are political activists and that our reasoning is to provide transparency to the Citizens. So when people have called us out for “ losing’ in such areas relating to the Ethics Commission because the Town has a precedence outside of following their own laws and rules or fighting for the correct usage of LOFT and politicians refuse to place their elections on the line for not doing what is right, at least we at the Journal are doing something. Let’s look for a moment at some of the factors that have been into play:
As to arguing with an attorney, I have been involved throughout my career with lawyers and fighting for what is right and just under the law, even though I do not have a law degree but have studied law for most of my life, to protect those who have been my clients and the agencies for which I have worked. Joe equally is extremely versed in most municipal law and knows the Sunshine laws as if he is a “walking book”.
Let’s take the Case of our Town attorney, Meagan Logan. She is a bright young lady so I cannot understand why she keeps making misstatements or skirting the issues relating to our “consultant” acting as a Town Manager. Also she should know that a Town Manager must be an Employee and the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of the Town in our Manager/Council Form of Government in order to make decisions. A consultant has no right to make decisions and the Council may only make decisions but unfortunately, in our form of government, the council has no such right either. And we do not have a strong mayor form of government and have not only broken our charter but many laws which pertain to our form of governance.
But now she is taking a stand on electronic mail not being a “Public” record, breaking the sunshine laws as well as the Charter and the Constitution. She was a great litigator and if she did not have facts to save her clients, she would do what a good litigator would do is “Hitting the Table” as the lawyers refer to. In our civil rights case, for instance, we had the facts but we lost in the end to a Liberal Judge by reason that Joe is Bi-Polar, even though his Bi-Polar is mainly depression. Who would not be with what he has put up with in this Town.
But let’s go back. It was to have been a simple case relating to the Right of Free Speech and Public Records. There was no proof that we made 20,000 public record requests or even 3,000 requests because the accounting records showed 469 records paid for. subsequent requests for the same thing should not be counted because they show the Town is not doing what they ought to do or are hiding evidence. The rest of the information was hearsay, with Shirley Heath, Helen Miller, and Pam Tomlinson saying, “I heard he did this, I was told he did that, etc. etc.”most of which the information was false. But when you have nothing, you pound on the table.
So I guess we could say Ms. Logan is again working for the Town as she should be and was hired to by providing not so sound legal advise. But really it is not right for her too fight every inch with laws which do not apply, to keep transparency from any citizen who would dare to defy the Town, or to break laws while doing so whether or not the Sunshine Laws, the Constitution or the Town Charter . This is a case where she apparently feels her job is to win and do whatever it takes to protect our Mayor for a decision she made to hire Tommie Jones and to fabricate legal statements and terms so she can make the citizens believe there is no problem with what has been done. Joe finally took it to a new level and sent the managing partner of her firm just one segment and perhaps, if the law firm may follow the law, they may explain to Ms. Logan that perhaps she should come clean. She is no longer a litigator pounding the table but is actually a municipal attorney.
Unfortunately our former attorney (prior to Hatton) Fred Koberlein learned the hard way when our political activist friend from the Columbia Observer took after him, and as a result won the public records cases placed but prior to this learning experience, Attorney Koberlein was also protective of the Town, but found the Town would no longer listen to his legal advice. Thank God that President Trump is placing more Conservative Judges throughout the country so that the Constitution and Laws may be adhered to and political biases do not rule the country.
Then let’s talk about Karen Hatton our previous attorney. As you all have read, her hire was twofold. Most attorneys would not apply due to the fact that White Springs has a horrendous reputation so when none applied, Mayor Bullard asked her to apply after the cutoff. Secondly, it was hoped that she would continue the work of taking after the Griffins. After all, because of the Griffin case, she may have lost her ASA job two years prior to her securing retirement. Now she could lie about LOFT and protect our former CPA as well as Attorney Rhett Bullard, but that’s where it stopped. Unfortunately she did not follow the ethics laws by doing the appropriate research when we were hit by a collection agency for the third time for which satisfactions of judgment were given us the first time because they were paid off.
When we indicated that she did not do her due diligence as an attorney on the blog, her letter of resignation came out immediately because after all she was hoping we would not take it to the FL Bar. After all it was not just this matter but her previous biases against us which would come out. Of course we would not because we felt sorry for her. After all, it was realized when she was an ASA that there was a reason the FBI (who she considered the secret service) would not take the case against Joe Griffin and secondly, the new ASA, himself realized Ms. Hatton and the Town of White Springs was biased against Griffin because there was an abundance of evidence the Town and the Mayor were trying to railroad Joe Griffin and Why? Because they didn’t wish to follow the law and would not provide public records, plus because of the Town official’s camel club organization, we started a blog which became insurmountable and they wanted it to end.
But let’s go back to the Commission on Ethics situation. Laugh as you will that everything was dropped because of Precedence but just think about it for a minute. Where do you think we received the information to pursue such things as the Hutcherson conversion of funds inadvertently through our Finance Director who felt he deserved it because he was ill; the facts about Townsend and why Andrew Greene may have been given favors and the Fire SUV; The LOFT funds not being used correctly among other items? We do not work at Town Hall; We are not members of the Council;; How would we know what to ask for on some of these issues?
Yes, this information was requested and mainly paid for by insiders. Of course we did the research and followed through for additional information, except in the case of getting our firefighters back because that was all us, except for the information on the arrest of Townsend and Greene getting rid of the paraphernalia? And how did we know about additional pedophile’ activity in White Springs except such could not be proven so we could not address the information as we usually do to protect young people.
I can’t say that we did not welcome this information because the Citizens should be aware of what is happening in White Springs and there were many who had hoped that the Commission would finally be the last resort who would take care of the perpetrators of our Town…..but alas, the Town has not followed laws from its inception whether by ignorance or by blatant disregard for the law, so new precedents were set so that the Ethics Commission could not rule in favor of the Charter and laws set forth. But you all elected these officials. We can only point to the laws which have been broken, advise you how they were broken and fight for your right of transparency.
It is not just insiders from White Springs which we have fought for, we but have helped other individuals through the Schools System, Hamilton County and other surrounding Towns. Many fear to get our reputation perhaps and secondly, they wish the information brought forward to the public or the law. Once they weigh what is required, we are usually called, even by individuals who do not know where to go with specific problems and we try to match them up with those who would serve them best.
So new councilors, just saying you are on the council because you wish to help your people, you’d better consider helping your people with things which matter like our infrastructure and trying to get our finances in order first. The rest is basically pie in the sky unless you can find investors and the like and get our budget in order. The only department which is able to lead and handle matters by themselves are the firefighters and their Chief.
This also means the Town needs the Planning and Economic Development Committee which should be one with the Economic Development committee, to determine what may be the best way to assist the development of our Town in this tight financial situation. We talk about assisting people with housing but has the Planning and Zoning committee went out among the citizens, determined what the needs would be like roofs, other repairs, a new building, etc, take photos and submit the criteria so we are assured to get a grant? We expect our grant writers to do all the work when really we are the ones who should know our community and its needs.
It is time that our Council set goals and determined which laws made through ordinances they need to abide by and which they need to be rid of. It is time to clean up White Springs and the first step is to secure a competent experienced Town Manager. By eliminating our consultant who is not experience except for computers perhaps, it will eliminate all the additional money we are paying our Attorney for doing those things which should be done by a true Town Manager.
Yes we have many times been called by our younger councilors telling us what to do and what we ought not to do and they feel that it is they who have given us information. However, I hate to say it but much of what was said could not be verified and we went to other sources. But now everyone may understand that the Journal had assistance from some very high profiled individuals who are insiders and because of it we took the stories and the complaints to the next levels.
God save White Springs and guide these Councilors to finally do what is right for the Citizens.