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LC City Manager Search, Thomas Thomas Pt – VI: Unbending on $140k Salary Demand, LCPD Hits the Road to Chase Down Info on Thomas & Family

Photo of police light with copy: Lake City Manager search coming down to the wire. LCPD on the move.
Photo via Pixabay | Columbia County Observer graphic

widget-city-manager-storiesLAKE CITY, FL –  The continuing saga of Lake City’s City Manager search continued with City Manager finalist Thomas Thomas emailing City Attorney Fred Koberlein, Jr., with his counter-offer.


The City Council met at 8 am, Saturday, January 29, to discuss City Manager finalist Thomas Thomas’ January 26 response to its January 23 proposal.

Spreadsheet showing the negotiations between Lake City and Thomas Thomas
Lake City-Thomas Thomas: The Making of a Contract

On January 29, Councilman Sampson, after 45 minutes of Council debate and discussion, and confusing remarks by City Attorney Koberlein, firmed up the requirements of an offer to Mr. Thomas.

The City Council rejected Mr. Thomas' request for $140,000 to start, instead offering $130K.

See: LC City Manager Search, Thomas Thomas Pt – V: Council Nixes Thomas $140k Salary Request, Agrees With Others – Negotiations Continue  (20220131)

Mayor Witt concluded the meeting by asking that Mr. Thomas respond by Wednesday, February 2.

City Attorney Koberlein is the designated point man with Mr. Thomas. Mr. Koberlein responded with the City’s offer on January 31 at 8:30 pm, which in the civilized world counts as the next business day, which is February 1, one day before Mr. Thomas was asked to reply and two days after the City’s offer.

Mr. Thomas rejected the City’s offer of $130k of annual pay.

The LCPD Is on the Move

LCPD investigators are on the move to do a full-scale on-site(s) investigation into Thomas Thomas and his family, i.e., his wife and two daughters, and maybe others.

The LCPD has no jurisdiction outside of Lake City - Columbia County. That also means no jurisdiction in other states.

However, somebody walking up to a person sporting a badge and a gun, both clearly visible, is an intimidating experience. It is unknown if the LCPD investigators announce they are from out of town, have no jurisdiction, and that the person being questioned does not have to answer or talk to them.

In 2018, these investigations were to stop after City Manager Joe Helfenberger assumed the position of City Manager. He took exception to, among other things, the Police walking up to strangers and others and questioning them.

Danielle Judd, who many thought was the top pick of the Council in 2018, the City Manager of Green Cove Springs, was so incensed that the Police showed up on her doorstep unannounced, with guns and badges, she decided that Lake City was not for her.

After Mr. Helfenberger's top management hires began dropping like flies, he blamed the lack of Police background checks and reinstituted full-scale Police background checks.

This City Council, Mayor Steven Witt, and Councilmen Jefferson, Hill, and Sampson have given this type of investigation its “Good Housekeeping” stamp of approval.

See related article: LCPD City Manager Investigation: Background Check or Stassi Like Police Overreach?

However, it appears to be understood that Mr. Thomas will be getting the “light” treatment by the Police during its on-site reconnaissance.

LCPD is doing the same background check on Mr. Thomas as they would for a police officer.

What the LCPD investigates:

 “Any information pertaining to employment, credit history, education, residence, academic achievement, personal information, work performance, background investigations, polygraph examinations, any and all internal affairs investigations or disciplinary records, including any files that are deemed to be confidential and/or sealed.”

The Police also investigate:

"Any criminal justice records of arrests, citations, detentions, probation and parole records, or any police reports or other police records in which I may be named for any reason, including any files that are deemed to be juvenile and confidential.”

The Police are also authorized to contact:

The National Records Center, St Louis, Missouri, or other custodian of military records to release information or copies of military personnel and related medical records, including a copy of a DD 214, Report of Separation, or other official documents from the United States Military denoting discharge status or current active military status.


Are all the database checks enough? Answer: not according to the City Fathers.

The only things missing from the City's on-site reconnaissance team are the jackboots and armbands.

These guys aren’t looking for Anne Frank.

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