Category Archives: South Jacksonville

Articles and news stories about South Jacksonville, ranging from Village Board of Trustees news to community events.

A Message From Colby on the Future of My Social Jacksonville 

Many have noticed that there has been a significant decline in the number of posts on the My Social Jacksonville Facebook page over the last few months. 

Some – including a former Village employee – have gone so far as to accuse my wife and I of viewing the goings on in the Village as “old news to you now”. While it is certainly true that the amount of information that has been shared and the investigative work that we did in the past has diminished, our desire for the Village of South Jacksonville to continue to grow, prosper, and see citizen trust in its government become stronger has not dropped, in any way. In order to both allay the concerns of a certain group of people and to be fair to all, it’s time to tell you a little bit more about the behind the scenes of this website and page.

A few weeks prior to the election that saw Harry Jennings become Village President, I had additional responsibilities given to me, both by my employer at the time in Springfield and a couple of freelance projects that I had been working on. With those new responsibilities, I had to make a choice of whether to try to take those responsibilities and continue the previous intensity of work involving watchdog efforts in the Village… or to focus on those items that paid bills, put food on the table, and provided for the needs of my family. As at least one of my colleagues in the watchdog efforts over the last couple of years can attest, it’s not cheap to do, both in terms of real financial cost and in terms of cost to family life. When you file a Freedom of Information Act with a government body and they respond by giving you tens, dozens, or even hundreds of pages of material that you then have to read, digest, and then make a written conclusion from, that is extremely time-consuming. As we all know, there are only so many hours in a day.

I made a commitment to myself that I would see the election through, no matter whom emerged victorious in the Village President’s race, although I had my chosen candidate. At that point, I intended to allow whichever candidate – Harry Jennings or Dani Glascock – get into office, get acclimated, and begin to form the path of their administration. At the very least, I was going to back off for ninety days, if not longer, before really jumping back into things. I felt then, as I do now, that that was a fair thing to do. Harry Jennings knew that, as I had privately disclosed to him that sentiment. Dani Glasock, had I felt comfortable in approaching her at the time (I didn’t, for reasons that anyone who followed the last few months of the campaign season can probably figure out), would have been given the same knowledge.

On April 4th, we all had the opportunity to go to the polls and speak out. By a dozen votes, probably the closest election in Village of South Jacksonville history, Harry Jennings defeated Dani Glascock to win the President’s office. On May 4th, President Jennings took office, starting the ninety-day clock, a “grace period”, if you will. I sat back, observed, and made notes about things I thought might be worth looking into. A ninety-day “grace period” from the day that President Jennings took office would have expired on August 2nd.

August 2nd arrived and, in my personal life, so had a few other things that had taken a greater position of importance than My Social Jacksonville and its zero revenue status. Those who know my wife and I personally are aware of one obvious item. I had also begun the application process for a new job, having made the decision that continuing in my previous career field simply wasn’t feasible anymore, due to changes outside of the workplace. However, part of the process of applying for the new position meant that I would have to dial back my online presence. So, the decision was made to do just that and be very quiet for awhile.

Let me be clear – I am not ashamed by any of the watchdog work that I have participated in over the last two years. I was wrong about a couple of things and came to the wrong conclusion on some of those items. I’ll take this opportunity to publicly apologize for those conclusions and any and all problems they may have caused. Please know that nothing I did was intended to be malicious and that my goal was the betterment of our community in the long run. In some ways, I – and others – succeeded, but in still other ways, I – and others – failed.

On August 31st, I – and another person – received the following text message from a former Village employee:

“I’ve been contacted by several people that find it extremely interesting that since the new administration has taken over at SJax that neither of your sites are exposing the behind-the-scenes goings on. Contracts being signed without approval, Trustees and Mayor fighting like children, or the entire Board is meeting tonight and no agenda is posted online. Or, maybe they feel chief of police interviews wouldn’t be violating OMA. Supposedly you both claimed to be unbiased, but clearly this isn’t the case. Just passing along what is being discussed in the Village. Guess the Village is old news to you now.”

I’m not here to debate whether that meeting did, in fact, violate the Open Meetings Act. As we all know, our current chief, Tim Mann, was eventually hired as a result of that meeting. The other accusations – contracts, in-fighting among elected officials, etc – have all been brought up to several elected officials, who have denied them. Whatever the case may be, I’d like to remind you that, as a citizen, you have just as much of a right to file a Freedom of Information Act with the Village or to ask questions of your community leaders as I, Tyson Manker, Mike Woodyard, Kim Rawe, or anyone else involved in the watchdog efforts of the last several years. If you have questions, ask them. I believe that the current administration – and, quite honestly, the Waltrip administration, as well – want to have absolutely nothing to hide from South Jacksonville residents. They want transparency and will work with anyone that asks to help make that a reality.

As to the future of My Social Jacksonville, here’s where things stand:

I was, a week ago, offered the position for which I applied in July. As luck would have it, the timing of certain personnel restructuring at my previous employer allowed me to begin my new position this week. As a condition of that employment, I have been told that I must give up My Social Jacksonville, due to the possibility that, in the course of my employment, I may gain knowledge of privileged information that I would not be able to write about on the website or Facebook. It would be a conflict of interest for me to continue to maintain a website such as MySocialJacksonville.com, in my new position.

I have approached an individual about acquiring the intellectual property, as well as control of the website domain, for My Social Jacksonville. At the time of our conversation, it was purely a hypothetical. Over the next few weeks, I will continue that conversation with them and see if it makes sense for them to take over the site and Facebook page or if I should seek other interested parties. But, the one absolute change – effective immediately – is that I am no longer an administrator for My Social Jacksonville. My new job demands that I do this and I am happy to oblige. For the time being, it remains in the control of my wife, until such time as we decide if she is going to keep the site and run it completely on her own, if we will sell it, or simply shut it down.

It has been an honor to have been a part of so many great things that have happened in our community since March of 2015. I hope to see many more wonderful things happen, now and in the future. I will be right here alongside all of you, but in the role of average citizen just wanting to pitch in, rather than a “loud mouth with a Facebook page and a blog”, as I have so affectionately been referred to on more than one occasion in the last two years. 

God bless.

 

 

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Trustee Statement Regarding Removal of Dani Glascock as FOIA Officer and Investigation into Alleged Misconduct

The following is the prepared text of a statement by South Jacksonville Board of Trustees member Paula Stewart, as prepared for delivery tonight, regarding the removal of Village Clerk and Village President candidate Dani Glascock as South Jacksonville’s Freedom of Information Act Officer and the launch of an internal investigation into alleged misconduct within Village Hall.

My Social Jacksonville received an advance copy of this statement on Thursday afternoon.

Good evening.

A majority of the Village Trustees have called this Special Board meeting because it’s time to set the record straight.

Actions taken over the past couple of months do NOT reflect the feelings of most of us on this Board. Rather, we have been left out of the process and included when necessary. The only possible scenario for this exclusion would be that this was to further a personal agenda and trustees opinions were not needed. This is not the way a successful Board works for its residents. We have repeatedly asked to be included in everything and have been ignored. This Village is being run by two people and not the Board.

About the first action item on the agenda tonight, the numerous complaints filed with the Attorney General’s office, for both FOIA and OMA violations, warrant the removal of FOIA officer Dani Glascock.

We have valid concerns regarding the release of Executive Session items (in a personnel matter) which were entered into our meeting minutes-yet not voted upon-for release.

Equally disturbing was the public viewing of video which was part of an executive session. We do NOT condone or support the circus sideshow this issue has become. This public video viewing was unprecedented and, yet, we were totally unaware it was happening. Further, we can’t be certain that video shown to the public was the same as was shown to the Board. Disappointing, to say the least.

As to the second agenda item, it is our contention that pursuing the leak of an unredacted confidential memo from an executive session-dealing with personnel-is in the best interest of our employees as well as our residents. Employees deserve confidentiality in all personnel matters. Residents deserve to know which one of their appointed or elected officials blatantly disregarded the law. To charge an official with misconduct, we need to start with an investigation. Someone had something to gain here. We can’t let personal agendas supersede the law.

We are taking the first step tonight.

While calling a meeting like this is very rare, it was the only option we had.

Continually being left out of Village matters, when we ARE TRUSTEES, is unacceptable and far from the transparency the public deserves and expects. We will continue to fight for what is best for the Village.

 

Our View: Jennings the Right Choice for South Jacksonville

These are crucial times for our country, as a whole, and our community, on the local level. Now more than ever, citizens need to be able to look to their elected leaders, not as figureheads placed upon a pedestal of worship, but as neighbors who have stepped forward to faithfully serve the best interests of the community. Specific to South Jacksonville, residents need to move beyond the scandal of the final months of the Jumper administration and the continued distrust and uneasy feelings of the interim Waltrip administration.

South Jacksonville residents need to believe that their Village President is someone that they may approach with a problem, large or small as they may be, and walk away from the conversation knowing that their concerns have been taken to heart and will be addressed appropriately and promptly.

Members of South Jacksonville’s Board of Trustees need to have someone sitting in the Village President’s office and at the center of the group during meetings that they trust to always be forthcoming with information and work with them to lead the village, rather than working to serve the interests of themselves or close friends.

The community needs to know that their Village President fully understands all applicable laws, either on their own or with the ability to admit when they do not have an answer and the humility to be able to ask for help, rather than drive ahead blindly without the proper information.

South Jacksonville needs leaders, not heroes, in Village Hall. While it may be “heroic” to stand against blatant corruption and wrongdoing, it is not so to continue to have such a complex that one is always looking for ways to bring attention to themselves. An appropriate balance of commitment to service and respect for others must be found by a community’s top executive.

While we commend current Village Clerk Dani Glascock for her service since taking office, we do not feel that she possesses the right balance of qualities that the Village of South Jacksonville needs in a Village President. Certain actions over the past twelve months lead us to believe that she lusts for power for reasons of personal pride and perceived status, rather than wanting to lead the community out of the mess of the last two-plus years with grace, poise, modesty, and civility. There are certain concerns about Glascock’s ability to adhere to the guidelines of her position as Village Clerk and a seeming willingness to overstep boundaries and actively participate in duties and roles that do not – or, rather, should not – involve the Clerk’s office that give us questions about her political motives and ability to properly lead the community for the next four years. There are additional doubts as to her ability to not bring personal vendettas and hypocritical opinions of others to a potential term as Village President.

Harry Jennings brings law enforcement experience and a no-nonsense approach to the table, free of the emotional or mental baggage that plagued the Jumper and Waltrip administrations over the last four years. His willingness to serve both his country, as a member of the military, and his community, as a police officer and, most recently, a member of the South Jacksonville Ethics Commission and an elected Precinct Committeeman, shows that he has his community first in his heart.

Next – and this is by no means something that should be overlooked by any potential voter on April 4th – we believe that Harry Jennings as Village President is an absolute must for the community at the present time. It is, in our view, vital that South Jacksonville fully separate itself from the prior administration that put the village into such a constant and, often, negative spotlight in the press. At one time, South Jacksonville was viewed by outsiders as a “jewel of Morgan County”, but, at the present time, it does not feel that the description is the same. It is time that a leader be chosen to return the village to that status. It is time to approach the next four years with eyes that are not clouded by rage and vengeful views over wrongs, real and perceived, of the previous four years.

It is for these reasons that My Social Jacksonville is proud to endorse Harry Jennings in the April 4th election for South Jacksonville Village President.

South Jacksonville Candidate Forum Format Announced

The following is the schedule and format for the upcoming South Jacksonville Candidate Forum, being held in the Village Hall Board Room on Monday, February 27th at 6:30PM. The public is encouraged to attend and participate.

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My Social Jacksonville Announces South Jacksonville Candidate Forum

February 27th event at South Jacksonville Village Hall will feature conversation on South Jacksonville issues with all contested seat candidates and will be open to the public.

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Waltrip Administration Needs to Move Beyond Personal Vendettas in Police Chief Fiasco

As prepared for delivery this evening, here are the remarks of MySocialJacksonville.com administrator Colby Huff to the South Jacksonville Board of Trustees regarding the current “administrative leave” of SJPD Chief Josh Hallock.

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