WHITE SPRINGS — The Town of White Springs may have yet another fire to put out with their own fire department.

At the Town Council’s Nov. 12 meeting, Mayor Helen Miller and Vice Mayor Walter McKenzie both asked where the volunteer department was in regards to recruitment and personnel.

David Prueter, the town’s fire chief, said he had put those actions on hold after interim Town Manager Tommie Jones called him and said that one of the councilors had requested he ask Prueter to resign his position. Prueter was hired in October by Tebo following an Oct. 4 interview and was introduced to the council at its Oct. 8 meeting.

In an Oct. 30 special meeting, the council discussed the fire department and its desire to see it improved.

During that meeting, McKenzie said former fire department employees were now willing to return.

“It worked, so why don’t we go back to what works,” McKenzie said in the Oct. 30 meeting.

Miller asked Jones in that meeting if he had spoken with Prueter and Jones said “he is unwilling to step down as fire chief.”

During the continued discussion, Miller said the council seemed to have a consensus on what it wants the fire department to look like.

“I know what I want, I want the old fire department back,” McKenzie said. “I want these risks mitigated and these fires responded to.”

It was decided in the November meeting that Jones would set up a meeting with Prueter, who was told by Miller that it was inappropriate for him to recall a private conversation with the town manager in the public meeting.

Also in the council’s Nov. 12 meeting, Jones informed the council that he was looking to improve security at Town Hall and for town staff through several measures. The first was the creation of a visitor’s log that would include the visitors’ name as well as the time they arrived and left and who they met with.

Jones also showed the council a video camera surveillance system, that he said he could install himself to save the town money on installation. He explained the features of the surveillance system and plans to install it in the near future.

The council also was informed that Selene Estes, the contract employee in charge of planning and zoning, has resigned, effective Nov. 23.

Pam Tomlinson, the town clerk and finance director, will also be out of the office, taking a FMLA leave from Nov. 12 through Feb. 10, 2020. Mayor Helen Miller and Councilwoman Anita Rivers asked about the documentation for Tomlinson’s leave, but Jones said he was unable to provide it.

Jones said there is a file cabinet at town hall that nobody has been able to access since Stacy Tebo, the former town manager, left following her resignation.

“She said she left me the keys but I haven’t seen any keys so I can’t get into the file cabinet,” Jones said.

Rivers added: “So now both people who have the keys are gone.”

Kara M. Compo is a reporter for the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press. Her beats include general assignment, government, politics, law enforcement and first responders. ​

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