Joe and I invited Dan Hartley, aide to State Rep.Chuck Brannan to Fat Belly’s for a light dinner prior to the March 12th meeting. It was learned that Rep. Brannan is a cousin to the owner of Fat Belly’s, Wayne Stormant and fortunately the timing was great so Mr. Hartley had an opportunity to meet Wayne and his son Cody.
Although Mr. Hartley did not mentioned the Local Option Fuel Tax issue, after Shauna Adams-Farries of the Hamilton County Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention and Shonda Werts gave their presentations followed by Citizens on the Floor, Accounts Payable for February, 2019 came up on the Agenda. Because of Statute 336.025, councilors Walter McKenzie and Helen Miller would not approve the accounts payable.
This ended up in a Rant from Councilman Rhett Bullard who slammed McKenzie and Miller for their continued objections. Bullard indicated no one ever explained that the Town was handling the Loft funds. He then in a childish manner brought up the fact after working for Dixie County, he was the one who increased the amount of LOFT funds the Town of White Springs Received and mentioned “Operations” the umbrella they are utilizing whether or not there are operations and we know in the last four years probably no more than $10,000 was spent. He also attacked Councilwoman Miller by his attitude and rant stipulating we have had LOFT funds for years and why Now, to which Councilwoman Miller explained that she had not known about the funds previously until recently. Of Course Rhett cut her off but Councilman Walter McKenzie became the hero of the evening. McKenzie chastised Bullard for his attack on Helen Miller. He further advised Bullard that Miller had provided information regarding the Statute but Bullard continually cuts her off.
Just like the Town expects to have the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners pay the Town $30,000 even though White Springs does not have a Fire Department; even though Kenny Hutcherson was paid for two years (and we know that for a fact because of the Rivers’ depositions) without handling his Public Utilities position since he was too ill to work; and even though the Town of White Springs has done limited work on our roadways and streets, it is felt that they can pay administrative salaries, police salaries, give donations, buy an excavator and trailer and lastly a new Ford Pickup with LOFT money, stating such administrations etc are part of “Operations”. But the problem is no “Operations” as defined has been performed in the Town of White Springs.
The contention by Rhett Bullard (John Rhett Joiner Bullard, esquire) our councilman is that the State has never indicated that the Town may not use the money received from the Revenue Department for paying anything and everything relating to the Town. The argument wears thin when money is being paid, but no road work has been done except possibly $10,000 out of the $750,000 in all of these years.
Although the Statute is extremely clear relative to the use of such funds, the Town continually contends that because of the inclusion of the words “Operations”, it is an all encompassing umbrella which includes the Town Manager, the Financial Director, the Police Department, Donations, Payments to employees for Public Works, even though no work has been done in the past four years (as you may have noted from the potholes),
Although the Town of White Springs Excuse is “operations” encompasses all, how can it do so when there are no operations but the money is still funneled to pay salaries, including salaries for those who do not work, donations, purchasing a new Ford Pickup and an Excavator, none of which is within the “Definition of Transportation”
Since the State has never had a municipality which has NOT followed the law makes it difficult for a specific agency to take the reigns and because of the political ramifications it is believed that the Senator’s office and others do not wish to make waves to one of their own municipality especially one involved with a Bullard. But one MISSTEP by White Springs remains and that is the fact that a “RESTRICTIVE FUND” FOR Transportation purposes has not been retained either under the General Fund or as a Separate Fund as other Municipalities do.
The next problem is that although we have brought the Statute forward on the blog, which I bet you readers can understand, but apparently not our Town Attorney, Not our Town CPA nor Councilman Rhett Bullard, Councilwoman Miller has also brought it to the Council’s attention.. Having obviously not been involved on the business side of the Law (like Bullard and Hatton), the definition of “Transportation” and its operations (involving Transportation) follows the Interstate Commerce Commission’s definitions. Most acceptable legislated or legal court case definitions are used by States, by corporations and by others such as lawyers, since they have been approved by the courts. And that is what we have here.
Insofar as the definition of “Operations” the only definitions per see consist of “Insurance Definitions” which are included in the Florida Statutes.
“Operations”Work or other business activity that has not been completed or abandoned. Standard additional insured status under a general liability policy applies only with respect to liability in connection with the named insured’s “ongoing operations,” preventing coverage from extending to the additional insured’s liability for the named insured’s completed operations.
“Completed operations liability” means liability arising out of the installation, maintenance, or repair of any product at a site which is not owned or controlled by:
(a) Any person who performs that work; or
(b) Any person who hires an independent contractor to perform that work; but shall include liability for activities which are completed or abandoned before the date of the occurrence giving rise to the liability.”
Again as I have explained previously on this blog, there is no interpretation of operations….only specific restrictions as shown above wherein operations would include any person performing the work or any person who hires an independent contractor performing that work for which then, the individual or they, if supervising, would be construed a “Contractor Executive Supervisor”. Anyone who has studied Civil Law should understand that when operations are included within a specific area of work, it applies only to what is required to that specific line of work.
It is obvious that Stacy Tebo only allows Rhett Bullard speak and boy does he rant about the subject protecting his CPA Ken Daniels…but this too, in time, will end up in her detriment. Any notes she has kept will not assist her because I can guarantee that Councilman and former Mayor Bullard who got the Town in this mess, does not place anything in writing. Plus, if this goes down, Pam Tomlinson may use the excuse that she did not know how to do something and just followed instructions, but in the end, it was up to Stacy Tebo the Town’s CEO to assure that such laws and restrictions thereof were handled in accordance with the General Accounting Principles and if she read the Statute and knows Councilors McKenzie and Miller are correct, then she should have told the Council and the CPA. But I don’t believe it for a minute that Councilman Bullard and Mayor Lofton didn’t know that what they are doing is illegal and definitely the CPA likewise should know. As to Bullard and Danielson, their professional backgrounds and ethics require more from them than the “prudent man/woman” standard layman, so lots of luck for trying to get out of this mess.
Karin for the blog