Joyce Marie Taylor
White Springs Town Manager Robert Townsend submitted his letter of resignation to Mayor Helen Miller Wednesday who then presented it to the Town of White Springs at a Wednesday night, April 18 meeting that was specifically called to determine Townsend’s fate. However, the issue was tabled until a question surrounding Townsend’s pension can be resolved.
Townsend was not in attendance at the meeting.
The Town of White Springs placed Townsend on paid administrative leave on March 28 after it was learned he may be under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
FDLE Public Information Officer Keith Kameg confirmed on Tuesday, April 3 that the FDLE had received a complaint and they were reviewing it to see if it warrants a criminal investigation. Kameg wouldn’t elaborate further. He said by phone Wednesday that no new information was available.
Mayor Helen Miller began the meeting stating she had received the letter of resignation from Townsend that same day and she read to all in attendance.
“After much consideration and thought, I am providing my notice of resignation as town manager and public works director with the town of White Springs, effective April 18, 2012. This was not an easy decision to make. I appreciate the opportunity that is given here and wish the town much success in the future,” the letter from Townsend stated.
Miller asked the council for a motion to accept the resignation as offered, but was interrupted by Robert Dezendorf, who was sitting in the audience.
“Before you accept it, I question the acceptance,” he said. “Is he entitled to a pension, where if he’s not fired and he resigns, does he get a pension that the town in any way contributes to? Whereas, if he’s fired, does he lose that pension?”
Dezendorf said he spoke to Councilman Dennis Price the previous day and Price said he would try to find out the answer to that question.
Miller told Dezendorf he was out of order because she had requested a motion from the council.
Councilman Richard Marshall then made a motion to accept Townsend’s resignation and Councilwoman Tonja Brown seconded it.
Town Attorney Fred Koberlein, who said he was just made aware of Townsend’s offer to resign, didn’t know with whom Townsend had a pension, whether through the Florida Retirement System (FRS) or through a private organization.
White Springs Finance Director Pam Tomlinson, who was in the audience, said, “It’s through ICMA.”
Koberlein said he felt that ICMA could answer the question quickly and suggested the council table the vote on whether or not to accept Townsend’s resignation until they received an answer from ICMA.
The board then unanimously voted to table the discussion until next Thursday, April 26, during their organizational meeting.
Town Clerk Shirley Heath remains interim town manager.