Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Woodard Escaped Credit Check; Other Camden Manager Candidates Faced Far More Scrutiny

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Woodard Escaped Credit Check; Other Camden Manager Candidates Faced Far More Scrutiny

Article excerpt

Byline: GORDON JACKSON

WOODBINE - After three searches for a county manager over the past two years, the Camden County Commission voted to appoint Penny Woodard, the county's human resources department manager, to the position April 17. But it now appears Woodard was not held to the same standards, which included a background check and a credit history review, as the finalists for the position.

According to records in the Camden County Magistrate Court office in Woodbine, Woodard has had 10 misdemeanor convictions for writing bad checks between December 2003 and November 2005.

She also filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy Sept. 25, 2000, and had the case discharged Feb. 13, 2006, according to court records.

When asked for an explanation about her financial problems, Woodard refused to comment.

"There's nothing to talk about," she said.

Barry King, one of the finalists who was rejected by commissioners for the county manager position three weeks ago, said he was required to submit a resume of past jobs and education. He was also required to give county officials his Social Security number and sign an agreement to submit to a credit check, which he was told was "very important."

Preston Rhodes, the County Commission chairman, said he was unaware of Woodard's financial problems, even though she was a county employee while her salary was garnisheed to repay creditors during her bankruptcy. Rhodes said he learned about the bad checks and bankruptcy after commissioners voted 4-1 to offer Woodard a contract to serve as county manager on an interim basis.

"Granted, it doesn't look good when a person doesn't have a good rein on their own finances," he said.

Rhodes refused to answer whether the credit problems would change his decision to appoint Woodard as county manager.

"I don't think that is a fair question to me as [County Commission] chairman," he said. …

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