Mississippi Ethics Commission finds that the City of Bay St Louis violated the Mississippi Public Records Act

On June 5, 2015 the Mississippi Ethics Commission cited the City of Bay St Louis for failure to comply with the Mississippi Public Record law set forth in authority section 25-61-1 et seq of the Mississippi Code (1972).

The City’s response to the Ethics complaint, lodged by Ron Thorpe of the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government claimed the City’s response to the Thorpe PRR was “proper complete and adequate”. However, the Mississippi Public Records statute is very clear that public records requests must be be produced seven days after receipt of the request for production or within fourteen days provided certain notification protocols are utilized. Bay St Louis City Clerk Katherine Smith failed to produce the records within the 14 day time frame, belatedly producing the requested records after Mr. Thorpe was compelled to file an ethics complaint on the matter.

Several members of the public have complained to Slabbed New Media regarding the City of Bay St Louis openly flouting compliance with the Mississippi Public records law as well as in public comments to the City Council. These compliance problems coincide with the exposure of the financial crisis that gripped the City in 2014, when it was forced to refinance its Water and Sewer Bonds or face default. Bay St Louis Mayor Les Fillingame had previously steadfastly maintained the City was solvent despite the imminent default, which was averted with the refinancing of the bonds at a cost to the taxpayers of over $150,000.

Finally, sources familiar with the operations of the State Auditor’s office indicate to Slabbed New Media that an investigation has been opened into certain of the City’s financial practices, including the issuance of $500,000 of debt without any apparent statutory authority that was used to pay past due bills owed to the Hancock County Utility Authority dating to the 2013 fiscal year.

Those wishing to see the final order should click below to obtain the two page pdf.

BSL Ethics Opinion

BSL Ethics Opinion

4 thoughts on “Mississippi Ethics Commission finds that the City of Bay St Louis violated the Mississippi Public Records Act”

  1. Transparency in Government is no longer optional in Hancock County. The lack of orientation of public employees who handle public documents, and the cavalier attitude of elected and appointed public officials in Hancock County will no longer be tolerated.
    We don’t ask for any more than State Law allows for the public, and will no longer settle for less.
    Lana Noonan, Chairman
    Hancock County Alliance for Good Government

  2. The entire county is at default on Transparency. Chancery Clerk has an audit no one will get until after the election. Stacey Pickering sent the County a bill yet he claims that the audit is not complete. Being friends with the right people helps stop transparency.
    Les and his merry men hide deceive and otherwise fraud the public daily.

  3. Lana & Doug,
    What are your opinions of the New Trolley system we have. No one has ever seen more than 2 passengers on it. Les stated in the paper it wouldn’t cost the Tax Payer’s anything they just have to pay half? LOL
    This rates up there with his other pet projects:

    Daffodil Farm: Which is now sold, put into a reserve account and on the Tax Rolls. He wanted us to provide the Land, plant, maintain and support a daffodil nursery and then we would get 10% of the Daffodil Yield. Now that’s smart business!

    Garbage Dumpsters: For his favorite businesses that don’t need it now that they will get charged but couldn’t operate without it before. Now it is used to offset costs for Special Events that Rafferty, Wendy and Les approve. Pirates Day and Harbor Fest as well got the benefit of City Employees Moonlighting with City equipment! This was documented last meeting. Les said he didn’t know anything about it! Come on Man! He was knee deep in both events! Another whopper!

    Chamber of Commerce: Giving a private club a free building with a triple net lease in reverse for the Tax Payer. We pay Maintenance, Insurance, and collect no taxes. LOL

    No wonder they finally had to take the check book away.
    No wonder he wanted to conceal his intentions. He even must know what a debacle his ideas produce.

    On a Positive Note the Council has taken over the check book!

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