Vanessa George is not only beautiful but is one of the most dynamic intelligent managers who we have ever had. She moves through Town Hall like a Gazelle who is nimble and proficient. Ms. Vanessa does not allow moss to grow under her feet but strikes while the iron is hot. She is personable and actually cares about White Springs’ constituents and has the capability of seeing all sides and has empathy for those who have problems, always attempting to find a solution no matter who they may be. She is aware of the Sunshine Laws especially relating to Chapter 119 and when she needs to be tough, she has the capabilities.
It has been said by our Vice Mayor that Vanessa George has done more in a week’s time than Tommie Jones did in a year.
Since Vanessa has now been the interim manager for almost two months, let’s just review some of the things she has accomplished:
- Vanessa George worked with Curt’s Construction so they were at least paid for the first phase of the Kendrick Street Project of $168,547.91. You will recall that before Jones resigned, they had been paid only $75,000 but due to Ms. George’s communications with Curt’s Construction and the Florida Department of Transportation, they received the balance in excess of $75,000 paid just before Christmas.
- Art Walker Construction and Mittauer & Associates had not been paid with respect to the Wastewater revitalization project. You will note at some point, nothing could be done by Town Hall because of non-payment. Ms. George took the bull by the horns and managed to not only pay Art Walker Construction and Mittauer well over $445,662 due but our portion, which was only $18,000. These checks were made just before Christmas
- Vanessa George was the only manager who has ever taken stock of what bills the Town needs to pay yet and how much money is anticipated (expense and income). When she brought it up to the meeting, it was found that White Springs only had some $12,000 left.
- Ms. George has been working with Hamilton County and White Springs Fire Rescue to secure the money which was owed. Although Thomas Brazil Sr., like I did once, listening to everyone at the meetings, blamed Hamilton County, it was White Springs’ fault. One of the fireman’s mother stated she sent all the paperwork to Hamilton County more than once; and I reminded everyone with the contract on the blog, apparently the correct information was not provided and physicals were required yearly, for which we did not comply. Kevin Pittman, our fire Chief took the blame for not sending the information himself and depending on other people who stated everything was done. Yet, until Vanessa George took over, no one did anything, including our Town Attorney to secure the necessary money for the calls WSFR made.
- Ms. George subsequently suspended the Fire Department from working until the County advised her that the contract requirements were satisfied and she was placing calls to Henry Land on December 22nd,the special meeting date. As soon as Mr. Land concurs, the Fire Department may again be operational.
- Mrs. Brazil is a retired Law Enforcement officer with an Associates’ Degree who initially was hired just to help Tommie Jones, but per Helen Miller, Mrs. Brazil did not have the experience to be a Finance Director. (Her experience was working in the private sector prior to becoming a law enforcement officer.)
When Ms. George was hired as the interim Town Manager, Mrs. Brazil agreed to undertake the Financial Director position at a rate of $15.50 an hour on a part-time basis. After issuing 3 to 4 incorrect payroll checks payable to Vanessa George and having them returned by Ms. George for correction, Mrs. Brazil again quit. Ms. George then did what a smart manager would do and that is to hire the “FIRM” of J & S Accounting, not just Mr. Whitehead. By hiring J & S Accounting, Ms. George is saving White Springs some $25,000 in benefits and insurance. It is a win-win for everyone.
- Ms. George is still working with First Federal of Jasper, to secure another line of credit in order to facilitate the final payment to Curt’s and it is amazing how Ms. George is able to work with the FDOT in such short order when we were told by Jones that it would take 45 days or longer.
- Information relating to a check issued by the Town has been requested by Joe Griffin for a year and both Mrs. Brazil and Mr. Jones said there was no further information Mr. Griffin would be given. To solidify the matter, they filed a 2nd degree Disorderly Conduct Misdemeanor charge against Mr. Griffin. Yet Ms. George feels 119’s are important and has assisted Joe Griffin.
Our Police Officer Michael Brandon Marsh who now works part- time for the Sheriff’s Department and part-time for White Springs, did not make the report on behalf of Joe Griffin who gave him the information and wished the sheriff’s department, but instead Officer Marsh sided with the Town who fabricated the story.
It is still in court but at the time it happened Joe called Major John Davis who gave him someone to report the matter to who in turn referred us to FDLE who secured information from us. In the meantime, Major John Davis who has known Joe Griffin for years picked up Joe’s report at our home, for the record.
Vanessa George found the information Joe Requested right on the Computer system (which Mrs. Brazil and Mr. Jones denied) and is in the process of securing the check. We were also told by Miller that it was not her but Beverly Brazil who was pushing the police complaint, even though we heard Miller asking Jones to complete the report more than once at meetings.. In fact Mrs. Brazil apparently told the prosecutor that Joe Griffin was a problem when it was Mrs. Brazil not wishing to provide a 119 for a year. Apparently Mrs. Brazil can’t tell palsy from anger.
- No Minutes of the meeting have been taken during Jones’ tenure except for the few Mrs. Brazil took so from September on the recordings have been requested from Ms. Meagan Logan and since I have had meeting material on the White Springs Journal, Ms. Cynethia Williams has cleaned up my articles and place the pertinent information in written form. Cynethia Williams is an amazing person and I am certain she is of great help to Ms. George. Every time you walk in the office she has mounds of paper she is organizing. We finally may have organization with Ms. George and Ms. Williams at the helm. Ms. George is still attempting to secure the recordings from Ms. Logan
- The Council decided to eliminate the Contract for services immediately after Meagan Logan, esquire’s resignation of December 17that the Meeting of December 22nd. Vanessa George invited Columbia County Attorney to attend the meeting and he offered to assist the Town of White Springs temporarily While White Springs advertised for a Town Attorney. Currently Mr. Foreman said he will not give the Town the municipal rate which runs about $140-$150 an hour but rather $300 an hour so that the Town immediately runs the ad and hires an attorney. He did not wish the council to become too comfortable but also stated and we believe it is because of Ms. George, that he also will apply.
- Ms. George is also working with our Planner and the other projects and grants the Town has.
- Ms. George is working on the Workers Compensation Claim for Tom Brazil and is sending additional information on Mr. Brazil’s physical etc. She indicated FMIT has no problem paying the claim if the required information is sent in. Thomas Brazil Sr. stated Tom Brazil’s Health Insurance carrier paid the balance of the claim and by law, had the Health Insurance Company known that this was in conjunction with a Workers Compensation claim they either would not have paid or they will still intend to subrogate against FMIT.