Why Karin feels no further interviews should be held for Manager – We have the best already for White Springs


For at least two decades, we have had to suffer councilors such as Walter McKenzie and the old guard, some of which are no longer with us, and subsequently Helen B. Miller chose managers who were among her friends or acquaintances.  Although the Town posted such jobs, the interview process was entirely a waste because most people in White Springs were chosen out of the Sunshine.  And most did not have the abilities required of the job; but as council members of the old guard, they could control their managers and the person who actually was the most controlling was Helen B. Miller.

 

So because of this, you will hear Joe Griffin, continually state that not only do we need to post a position but we need to make certain the person we hire is the best and the brightest.  He admits that Vanessa George, our interim town manager is probably the best and the brightest; but feels everyone who applied should be interviewed.  This is where Joe and I have a strong difference of opinion.  Just because they went to Harvard does not mean they wish to stay in White Springs where their status would be wasted and for too little money.

 

Vanessa George took on the position of Interim Town Manager running.  Mayor Miller and Walter McKenzie’s choice of Tommie Jerome Jones almost placed our Town into bankruptcy.  Acting Mayor Anita Rivers appointed Ms. George with Council approval and whether or not she had previously held a position of Town Manager, she is exceptionally better than any we have interviewed or hired in the past.   We needed someone who would take the “bull by the horns” and this young lady, in my opinion has it all.  So why change what is working?

 

These are just some of the things Ms. George has accomplished in a short three months.

  • Financials and budgetary items are finally being handled as they should be with Ms. George ascertaining that the public be aware of White Springs’ financial situation on a monthly basis

 

  • Past due Construction projects were looked into immediately and Ms. George has worked with the various government agencies to assure payments were made and are currently winding down for Curt’s Construction, Art Walker Construction and Mittauer & Associates.

 

 

  • An outstanding Balance for the Mill Street Project is being investigated where Jones dropped the ball and Ms. George will be handling expediently.

 

 

  • George has been working with Hamilton County on various items, but specifically she is attempting to have the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office police our area. Currently our Police Force is deplete of serving our community and the Sheriff’s office has already been providing 80% of the coverage.

 

  • Where for a year, our former Town Manager and Financial Director Clerk who worked part time could not seem to get a grip on why our Fire Department was not paid for services. George immediately worked with the County and although the County refused to pay for what services were provided, Ms. George has negotiated with Hamilton County; has reviewed the various contracts and apprised the Fire Department of what was necessary and is currently getting the last two quarters of money.

 

  • Where First Federal would not provide us with a line of credit because Jones was a consultant and frankly lied on the applications which were submitted, omitting the Preuter case as well, between Acting Mayor Rivers and Ms. George, all new applications were submitted

 

  • First Federal has now approved our Line of Credit, thanks to Ms. George and Acting Mayor Anita Rivers, who will be the ones who can request draws on the line of credit. Since this has been a large factor for the Town, it would be detrimental to change signors at this time, especially with a new applicant that has no idea of how our town has been run nor would they be able to get up to speed.  We do not wish to jeopardize our line of credit by changing signors midstream when we have the Manager who did most of the work to get White Springs here.

 

  • Nicole Williams and Jacqueline Williams will also be signing the loan documents and are required to provide their licenses.

 

 

  • An important change at Town Hall has transpired since Ms. George became the interim manager. We now have a cohesive, professional, educated staff, which has no agendas except to serve the Town of White Springs.  It is because of Ms. George that we actually have a “team” who seem to love working together.  We are so grateful for her hiring of Audrey Lewis and Cynethia Williams.

 

 

  • It is  in great portion, that one of the best Attorneys we could have ever imagine work for the Town of White Springs. We are so pleased to have Joel F. Foreman as our Attorney; an attorney for the people abiding by the laws of our Charter, the State and Federal Government.

  • Where we have lost money on our Water Bills and Waste Pro, Ms. George is currently conducting an audit with our finance department J & S.

 

  • George hired J & S Accounting, rather than an employee to handle our bookkeeping and accounting so that we are not paying out benefits and salaries, which I believe she mentioned would save us some $25,000 a year by having J & S as a consultant.

 

 

  • Where the Town of White Springs has never followed their ordinances for Code Enforcement, because the old guard did not wish to hurt their friends, only those they did not like, Ms. George has suggested the Town Council act as judicial body for code enforcement and there will be a workshop with the Town’s attorney on February 23rd. The Town should be securing revenue from those who do not wish to comply with ordinances.

 

  • George has been working with Kimerly-Horn, our planner regarding Environmentally-Sensitive Lands and with respect to the Community Center which has been dropped virtually by our Town Councilors since 2017. The Town Council has elected to go forward with the Community Center by securing an extension of time on the CDBG  from Tallahassee through the Department of Economic Opportunity.

 

 

  • George has met with the engineering firm as well as providing information regarding the limitations of utilizing the current site for the new Community Center/hurricane shelter being proposed.

 

 

  • Our bills are being paid on time after one year of leaving checks sitting on desks and not being deposited.

 

 

  • Ms. George secured $50,000 for the Town of White Springs through the The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act   (AKA CARES Act)

 

 

  • Working with Town Staff, since Jones ruined our Town’s internet site, all meeting minutes, ordinances, etc. are being organized and placed in binders. All paperwork is being reviewed and handled.

 

  • Transparency is brought forward from Town Hall for the first time in decades.  Agendas are being prepared.  White Springs Journal is even being provided notes and paperwork on items concluded for each month so the citizens may be aware of what is happening at Town Hall.  This is all because of Ms. George and our wonderful staff.  No new candidate could possibly be as organized and efficient as what I have seen from Ms. George’s files.   The old guard never wished to be transparent and never allowed the public to know what was going on.

 

  • Ms. George had our Town Attorney Joel F. Foreman conduct a workshop on the Charter Review.  Mr. Griffin was asked to serve on the Charter Review committee and has currently reviewed the charter with changes, which he suggested the Council review prior to having the Attorney make any suggested changes.

 

  • Attorney Foreman through Ms. George’s request has met with Ray Vaughn who is familiar with all the properties of the Town to determine what Surplus the Town may have. It is time to have this surplus sold or eliminated and Ms. George is also working on all surplus and inventory, with Mr. Vaughn of Town equipment and property.

 

 

These are just some of the items Ms. George has been responsible for.  Not only is she a dynamic leader who has done so much for White Springs in such short time, but she has the right temperament for the job which is just as important as her education.

 

 

Not only the aforementioned, but Ms. George has relatives in White Springs and is familiar with the Workings of White Springs.  Where I overheard one candidate say, well White Springs doesn’t pay much but I don’t have a mortgage,

 

 

Ms. George accepted the position immediately, not seemingly concerned about the money aspect but felt she could help the Town.  Too many who interview, do so because they don’t have a job and those from out of Town have no idea what is important specifically to the Town of White Springs.  Ms. George does.

 

 

110.105 The Employment policy of the state.—
(1) It is the purpose of this chapter to establish a system of personnel management. This system shall provide means to recruit, select, train, develop, and maintain an effective and responsible workforce and shall include policies and procedures for employee hiring and advancement, training and career development, position classification, salary administration, benefits, discipline, discharge, employee performance evaluations, affirmative action, and other related activities.

 

Under Federal Regulations it is a necessary requirement to post job listings if you are a Contractor who does at least $100,000 of business per year with the Federal Government. 

 

The regulation exempts any executive or high-level managerial positions, any temporary jobs lasting three days or less and any internal hires. Its purpose is to ensure that qualified veterans receive access to more job opportunities. However, since it doesn’t apply to internal hires it only prevents contractors from hiring personal contacts without listing the position.

 

Let’s face it, the only reason to post a job is if you do not have anyone internally who is currently handling the job professionally.  It is usually to ensure that an employer has the largest possible applicant pool to choose from for the position.But for others, whether or not to post a job is a question and not just a given assumption.

 

 

  • For federal contractors that meet certain requirements, job openings must be posted with the appropriate employment services to ensure the openings are referred to veterans. This is a requirement under the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA). VEVRAA requires federal contractors to have an affirmative action plan for hiring veterans.

 

  • For any other employer subject to an affirmative action plan, that employer will create its own rules for job postings and must follow its own rules in that regard.

 

 

 

  • Any employer that has entered into a collective bargaining agreement should ensure it’s following the job posting rules set forth in the agreement, if applicable.

 

 

 

  • Some government agencies have a requirement to publicly advertise job openings.

 

 

 

  • Employers that create their own policies regarding job postings should be careful to follow their own guidelines. Failure to do so will appear inconsistent and may give rise to claims of favoritism or discrimination. If your organization wants the leeway to post—or not—as it sees fit (and if it does not fall into the above categories), it may be wise not to create a policy for job postings that it then must follow!

 

 

Let’s face it, White Springs is an Equal Opportunity Employer but I say, if we have someone like Ms. George with the Education and Know how in which to run the Town of White Springs as she has done in the last three months, why Break what is working?  Without Ms. George we would never have had such a wonderful staff team nor an attorney who actually believes in the law.  And from what we hear, Government agencies love to work with Ms. George.

 

I don’t know about you, but I personally never wish to see the Old Guard back on the Council nor as staff.  White Springs could have been so much better without Councilors such as Walter McKenzie and Helen B. Miller. We now may have a chance to prosper and it is because of Ms. George’s abilities that our spending is being cut down and a plan of action is materializing.

 

 

Thank you Acting Mayor Anita Rivers for making such a great Choice.  I always said you were the voice of reason and a person of logical intellect on the Council, but all of us had to go through the Old Guard’s control before spinning out on our own, knowing they were just wrong, disorganized and unable to make good judgments.