Do you know the easiest way to tell when you are getting oh so close to the truth? When the company you are making nervous files an injunction against you to attempt to silence the truth. It happened last week. Holley-Navarre Water System filed an injunction against Navarre Press and Sandi Kemp to prevent us from talking about certain things.
Here is the really humorous part – HNWS knows that we have a personal journal belonging to Billy Sublett, the past executive director of the company who passed away just days after he was either fired or forced to resign. But they have no idea what is in it, and apparently they are worried. So, instead of communicating with us, usually the best form of damage control, they are not only ignoring us, but trying to legally quiet us. In the injunction, they sent us a list of all the things they presume would be in Sublett’s journal and said we can’t talk about those things. Well, to our surprise they have given us a great list of topics for us to look over that we didn’t have before. The injunction has malfunctioned – and now we are thankful for the heads-up. We now have a much better view of what is happening or at least where to look.
The injunction is based on the supposition that Sublett’s journal is company property and it is not. It was not kept on a company computer and belonged to him privately. We know this thought is foreign to the majority of the current HNWS Board of Directors, because they like to control all things – but they cannot control what topics we discuss or report about. As long as we are truthful, we can report it. And we will. So now we are just reviewing this list and wondering where to go first!
In the meantime, we will continue to request information from HNWS and they will continue to submit a form letter to us via their attorney that says “Request Denied.” In that effort, we think the public should know the information we are seeking. So, whenever we make a request of HNWS, we will publish it along with the response from the company. The most recent request was last week and here is the text from the letter:
Mr. Paul Gardner,
Please provide the following answers/information:
- Was Mr. Sublett asked to either resign or face termination?
- What is the address of the water meter in director Brian Kelly’s name, and on what date was it put in his name? The same question for board director Robert Coley? This would serve to put an end to the rumors circulating that they are not eligible to serve on the board.
- Regarding the job of rebuilding the retention wall at Hidden Creek golf course on the 18th hole, director Troy Bossier was awarded the contract and completed the work. It has been reported that he used water company employees and equipment when his original bid was to include materials and labor. Was the water company-provided labor and equipment deducted from Mr. Bossier’s contract?
- Has a decision been reached regarding the land the City of Gulf Breeze owns on Bergren Road for effluent disposal? Are you considering the Flea Market Land for use as a spray field?
- During the current hiring freeze, have any employees been added to the payroll? And have any pay increases been given?
- How many members does Holley-Navarre Water System have?
- The board voted at a meeting to put the minutes of the board meetings on the website, however those have since been removed. Was there a vote to remove the minutes?
I appreciate your attention to these questions and look forward to hearing back from you.
And this is the response we received from the HNWS attorney:
On or about August 9, 2016, you submitted a request for information to Mr. Paul Gardner, the General Manager of Holley-Navarre Water system, Inc. I have examined the applicable Florida statutes that govern your request, and discussed it with the Board of Directors.
As a result of this discussion, the Board has decided to deny your entire request due to non-compliance with the Florida statutes.
Douglas D. Tidwell, Esq.
Just to be clear, we complied with Florida statutes in our request; however, there is one caveat in the statute that says the request must be for a “proper purpose.” That could mean anything – but this is why they keep denying it. In our minds, proper purpose means that the members can hold the board accountable – that’s proper. They don’t think so, nor do they wish to be held accountable. Our questions remain unanswered and requests continue to be denied and the water department members – all 42,000 plus – will remain in the dark about their water department. You know – the one that just raised your rates. Members – you need to stand up and be accounted for. The next official water board meeting is at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 20. This date does not include all of the non-disclosed meetings that are held without notice to the members.