Suwannee Democrat


May 21, 2014

Confusion at SVTA during transition

Board puts hold on comp time, reverts to 1983 manual

Live Oak —

The boardroom was packed with people during a two-and-a-half-hour Suwannee Valley Transit Authority (SVTA) Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday, May 13, as the board struggled to decipher which Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual they were operating under.

SVTA is being watched closely by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). FDLE would not state the nature of their investigation. An FDOT audit revealed that ousted Administrator Gwendolyn Pra received compensatory time payouts in excess of $86,000 on top of her $78,748.80 salary, and former Director of Operations William “Bill” Steele received over $36,000 in comp time payouts, aside from his annual salary of $71,427.20. FDOT Inspector General Robert E. Clift had stated SVTA’s cost accounting system was not sufficient “to make a precise determination of the sources of these payments.”

Pra took the reins of the troubled SVTA on Aug. 15, 2011.

Board members

Board members present at the meeting were Chairman Ronald Williams (Columbia County Commission Chairman), Commissioners Beth Burnam and Robert Brown from Hamilton County, Commissioners Ricky Gamble and Jason Bashaw from Suwannee County, Commissioner Bucky Nash from Columbia County, newly appointed Director Teresa Fortner, Board Attorney Hal Airth and Board secretary Shirley Cribbs.

Williams, according to past minutes, has served on the SVTA Board as far back as May, 1981. The rest of the board members are fairly new. Nash replaced Scarlet Frisinia on Jan. 14, 2013, Brown replaced Randy Ogburn on Jan. 14, 2013, and Burnam replaced Josh Smith on March 10, 2014. Bashaw began serving Jan. 8, 2014, replacing Phil Oxendine, and Gamble began serving Jan. 8, 2014, replacing Clyde Fleming.

Policies and procedures

Clarification on the policies and procedures manual that SVTA is operating under was questioned. It was noted by Gamble that there seemed to be several different versions of the manual. 

Williams said the manual that had been followed was dated March 26, 2012.

Text Only
Local News
Suwannee Democrat
Jasper News
Mayo Free Press
Arrest Record


AP Video

Must Read
Business Marquee
Election 2014
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
House Ads
Twitter Updates

Did your student take advantage of local summer activities?

Yes, through 4-H or another club.
Yes, through Parks & Recreation.
Yes, summer food service program.
No, they didn’t.
No, we didn’t know there were any.
     View Results