I understand that because we are a municipality, it is necessary that we advertise for the “Town Manager” position, but I must tell you, I am so sick of people saying “But she is not Qualified”.
I don’t care who it may be but there was always that one job in which you started, where you may not be considered fully qualified. Yet you were hired based upon your temperament and what the person hiring saw in you. As a result you were happy for the opportunity, and you worked diligently to move yourself up the ladder, becoming the expert in your field.
First of all, I do not believe Vanessa George is under-qualified in the least. I do not know what roles she could even be lacking in because it seems as though Ms. George has the necessary knowledge, skills and experience which in my opinion place her above many of the applicants who have been Town Managers for years; many of which have been stuck in a rut of their past. I have seen this in prior managers who have worked in White Springs.
The one exception was Bill Lawrence who was only an interim town Manager in Maine but a longtime Law Enforcement Chief. He was the best of the best and could probably be called “unqualified” because of the lack of Town Manager experience. Instead of $55,000 he worked for $40000 a year which then Mayor Miller and the council offered and he left early giving his termination after some eight months because we were so corrupt. Vanessa George may even exceed his skills and great personality.
First of all Ms. George doesn’t have an agenda other than doing what she can for the Town of White Springs; she is a Business Person who can bring her ideas from the private sector since she is a Director of the Lollipop Hangout and worked for On Point Healthcare, to the Public Sector in working for a municipality. Not only that but her two bachelor’s degrees are perfect for her to become a Town Manager (Bachelor of Science in Criminology; Bachelor of Science in Political Science-especially). It’s also not bad that she has a master’s in History because in today’s world History is taken a toll with many wishing to change it..
- Ms. George has already managed people which is a requirement
- She is humble and doesn’t tell everyone she is great but shows exactly what she can do and she has excelled.
- She has excellent written and verbal communications skills as well as excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills or she would not have accomplished what she has thus far.
- She does have a strong attention to detail and doesn’t let anything get by her but delves right into the crux of any problem…..she doesn’t wait weeks or months but fits it in her schedule as soon as practicable..
Since I hear this type of thing from men mainly, and usually older men, including my own dear husband, I have to say to you, Women have always had to work harder than any male and have had to achieve far more than any malein order to go up the ladder.
Okay, so Vanessa George has not been a manager previously for a municipality, does that really make her unqualified? Her skills are far more diverse than those of the last two males we interviewed or who applied in White Springs for the manager’s job when Jones was here. I have worked with men most of my life and I have found that many are set in their ways and one must work very hard to get them to change their mind on any topic.. Yet older women I believe can be worse especially if jealousy comes into play and they feel the world has not been kind to them. The latter group has never realized it takes honesty and hard work to get where you wish in life.
Those in politics seem to have their own agenda, depending what they wish to do. And being a town manager is a very iffy position, especially since a new council will require a new manager and you are again looking for a job, not being able to have a great retirement. That is why today retired Town Managers that are in their 70’s and beyond are looking for consulting or manager’s jobs. Yet so many things have changed and not all are able to move ahead with the changes. With today’s technology even I cannot keep up in any way or means. It is time for the young to succeed and to bring forth ideas. The ways, means and strategies of yesterday may not be what is necessary today and in the future. We must continually learn something each day and push ourselves to new levels. But I do not see that with most retired persons..
Let me give you an example of how the interviews for Town Manager are going on at Flagler Beach. Taking on your “unqualified” approach,FlaglerLive.com wrote an article under the title “Advisers Recommend Checkered Shortlist of 7 for Flagler Beach City Manager, Out of Motley Field of 57 Applicants”. As you can see the Flagler Live . com is raising the fact that the candidates chosen for the short list are checkered.
The Flagler hiring committee consisted of retired (Notice the word retired, meaning they are older and what has been done in the past is still good today) managers associated with the Florida City and County Association Senior Advisor Program, what used to be known as the “Range Riders.” The program helps cities and counties recruit new leadership.
What we noted is that Tim Day one of the most knowledgeable and experienced individuals we know who has the experience of having been a Town Manager but is not currently did not make the short list albeit qualified instead of unqualified.
Here again are retirees and they picked only those who were Town Managers and discounted the rest a self-employed real estate investor, a jury coordinator, a health department supervisor, an adjunct professor, an office manager for a small company, a police officer and union president, a graduate research assistant, a customer service supervisor, and several “consultants,” the catch-all job description for many who’ve lost work but still seek it. One of them made the recommended short-list.
These are two we are familiar with which were picked for the short list.
Lee Evett (who declined to interview in a conversation with former Mayor Miller due to our lawsuits) was the city manager of Frostproof in Polk County (pop. 3,000) from 2017 to the end of 2019, supervising 54 employees and a budget of $8.5 million. A unanimous city council fired him for the sort of style that would give Flagler Beach commissioners pause. The Ledger in Lakeland reported on his tenure’s end: “Council members told The Ledger that Evett had been increasingly working off the reservation, undertaking initiatives without informing the mayor or council or seeking their authority. Vice Mayor Jon Albert did not attend Monday’s regular meeting but was present for Thursday evening’s special council meeting to consider procedures for seeking a new city manager,” the paper reported shortly after Evett was ousted. “He got results for the city, but he burned a lot of bridges,” Mayor Martin Sullivan told the paper. “Lee was not forthright and did things on his own in his bull-headed and headstrong ways.”
“He was not working with the council. He was beginning to work for himself,” another council member–who’d been Evett’s early supporter–said.
In his application Evett says he was fired because “I refused to hire a councilperson’s husband as [public works] director. He was not the most qualified candidate.” But trouble began for Evett soon after his hiring: he’d left town during Hurricane Irma to take care of his mother, which barreled through Frostproof, but didn’t return to the city for days afterward. Residents called for his firing. The mayor criticized his lack of communications with emergency services, according to The Ledger’s Kevin Bouffard. Other problems ensued, from difficulties with the sheriff’s office to caustic relations with staff.
Evett was also a public works director in Okeechobee, a city manager in Los Alamitos, Calif., where his resignation, after just eight months on the job, followed almost immediate differences with the city’s mayor and a council member.
Stacy Tebo, a University of Central Florida graduate in public administration (1996 master’s), was the town manager in White Springs, whose population could fit in the 1,000-seat Flagler Auditorium, with about 250 seats to spare. Holding that job from 2015 to 2019, Tebo said she “wore many hats, with the building of a grants-funded community center, park improvements, a new boat ramp, paving and drainage improvements accounting for some of the accomplishments on her watch.
She does not say why she resigned, but her Oct. 8 resignation letter explains: “As evidenced by the appointment last night of a disgruntled former employee whom I terminated for theft, Anita Rivers, the current council does not have the best interest of the White Springs citizens at heart.” (“I always strive to do the right thing,” she wrote in her cover letter to Flagler Beach).
Before her years with White Springs, she was the city clerk for DeBarry for 10 years until she was fired, allegedly “for insubordination and disloyalty, among other things, as documented in a termination letter she received,” according to court papers. She sued, alleging gender discrimination and retaliation. A trial court sided with the city, but the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals last October split its verdict: it found no gender discrimination but remanded the case to the lower court on the retaliation claim. (See the court’s opinion here.)
Upholding the judgment on discrimination, the court cited the city’s findings against her, that “Tebo was trying to undermine him to other employees, the mayor, and the city council; provided false and misleading statements concerning an internal investigation into allegations against another city employee; failed to obey certain directives given to her by a supervisor; and used an unauthorized email account to send and receive official communications. […] Tebo failed to rebut these reasons head-on with evidence that they were false or that the decision to terminate her was made solely because of her gender.”
WELL THE FLAGLER LIVE CERTAINLY INVESTIGATED EVEN THOUGH SOME WERE PLACED ON THE SHORT LIST WHICH SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN.
Frankly I hear this statement “we must get someone to apply who is qualified” daily so Joe and I have agreed to disagree and not speak about it. But like you have heard before, why should we try to hire an “older fossil” who is set in his OR her ways and who could never move the way Ms. George does in such an expedient and energetic manner.
Why do we want some other male or female who did not work out for some other council or town?. Vanessa George is new and refreshing and has not been spoiled by the Politics of White Springs. For years the old guard always was spinning conjecture about people which was not true and some of their underhanded tactics were not only hurtful but disgusting.
We have a new Guard and the Old Guard needs to let Ms. George and our councilors be instead of trying to undermine them as you have tried for a short time in 2020. Old Guard…you had many opportunities to do the right thing but instead you made a mess of things so it is time you realized there is no place for you any longer. Mayor Miller hiring Jones and making him a consultant has virtually ruined our town. And as such I believe Walter McKenzie doesn’t believe having Tommie is like having Christmas every day. You all blew it.
I know we have to advertise and maybe then I will not have to listen to this malarkey about qualified or unqualified. I believed in Vanessa George the minute I met her at the meeting in which she was introduced and hired. I believe she has an unlimited intellectual Capacity in what she may do for White Springs and I see attributes in this young woman that I have not seen in people for years. In those years, I hired them. Get over it people!