Transparency again an issue at Bay City Hall

To say we have a few things going on in the background is a bit of an understatement as we have some major technology upgrades in progress to go with everything else thus we have several irons in the proverbial fire. I mention this because I left last week’s City Council meeting with the impression the Administration and Council would be working on a more cooperative level but that appears to be an illusion.

To set things up at 4:30 last Tuesday there was a Council workshop to discuss the audit and the capital improvements proposed to be funded by the upcoming bond issue. During the audit portion of the workshop City Clerk Clark disclosed to the City Council that the DoJ folks were done looking at the Equitable Sharing Funds, of which close to $300,000 looks to have been misspent by the Fillingame Administration on things like fancy street lights for Ward 2. Clark revealed that DoJ was requiring a forensic audit of the program before any further Equitable Sharing funds can be expended by the City and that everything he was telling the council was contained in an email that he received from the City’s contact at Department of Justice. The Council asked to see the correspondence and Clark indicated that would not be a problem.

The problem of course is that here we are a week later and sources on the Bay City Council indicate to Slabbed New Media that despite repeated requests to Mr. Clark for the requested information, he has not sent the DoJ email to the City Council, likely because Mayor Fillingame told him not to share the email being my guess.

I hate to be cynical but I’ve mentioned a time or two that Hizzoner would suck Clark in and turn him into David Kolf lite and that is exactly what has happened. Mr. Clark gave the council his word last week that he would do certain things and well, he evidently is not a man of his word. Covering for a man trying to sweep $300,000 of misspending under the rug is not a winning strategy IMHO but it appears that Mr. Clark will have to learn that lesson the hard way.

In other news there is a very worthy public debate going on right now as it regards civil asset forfeitures, a topic I have a bit of first hand experience. The practice of arresting money has gotten out of hand IMHO:

Police Civil Asset Forfeitures Exceed The Value Of All Burglaries In 2014 ~ Zero Hedge

24 thoughts on “Transparency again an issue at Bay City Hall”

  1. It is time for Council President Boudin to appear unannounced at Mr. Clark’s office with a Public Records Request in hand.
    And, since the city attorney has admitted in writing to the Sun Herald that the city has no Council adopted policy if their own, according to the Miss. Public Records Act, the Council President should expect it to be delivered to the Council Clerk no later than 24 hours.
    If Clark and Fillingame insist upon being defiant, Council President Boudin can just file the next set of paperwork which is a formal complaint to the Miss. Ethics Commission naming Clark and Fillingame as defendants.
    These guys apparently like trouble so it is high time they were accommodated.
    And, by the way, Councilman Boudin, forward all of this to the DOJ. It just strengthens their case which they are building at this time.

  2. I fail to understand why anyone believes anything Less Fillingame says. Why?
    He has lied with such consistency, there is no longer any question. He has lost the confidence of the people.
    Ms Noonan is correct in her suggestions, that process will take time. Why has no one filed with the ethics commission already? The minutes are full of broken promises to produce original invoices timely. Fillingame is a child who has been confronted with empty threats. He is comfortable with the knowledge that no one on council will even attempt to hold him to his word legally or ethically.
    We can’t pay our bills, money is missing in every corner, but we’re going ahead with another bond issue. That should be suspended until we have internal controls reestablished. … or established for this first time in the administration.

  3. Les is the gift that keeps on giving! Lack of Institutional Control is an understatement. He intentionally undermines the process. I feel it is high time that he hire his own legal counsel and make what ever case he is trying to make on his own nickle.

    Mean while Wendy is more worried about spending city funds on a trolley that was ill conceived on the front end.

    Les is a quantum fibber and she is incompetent!

  4. If the email correspondence from the DOJ at the conclusion of their recent investigation of the city’s drug forfeiture funds had been good news, the Mayor would have immediately called a press conference and read it aloud himself on TV.
    Come on, Council, grow some. Take charge of this investigation you initiated and see it through to it’s legal conclusion.
    By the way, Doug, I think the Mayor and former city clerk, Kolf, may have gotten more out of those drug funds than silly street lights. If it went into the general fund, try pay checks for a starter. That sounds like personal gain to me– for the past 6 years–72 of them???!!!

  5. Every action from the Mayor and new City Clerk makes my day of laughter more and more. How STUPID can one be. Let me see???? Now Les has poisoned the new Clerk and if he is too dumb to see then shame on all of them. I hope they all get sanctioned by the DOJ and get whatever legal consequences they deserve.
    I hope the Council does not vote on this new bond issue. Wendy, Doug, Bobby and Jeffrey are an embarrassment to the city of BSL. They should either step up and be fiscally responsible to the people or resign. PLEASE do NOT run again. You will be disappointed in the results when the voters finally see you for what you are and elect new people I will be the first to contribute to the campaign to “Elect A New Council”
    Happy Thanksgiving !!!

    1. Yesterday afternoon the DOJ report was put up on the City’s website, no doubt in response to this post. I was quoted a few excerpts and it is as I expected, funds were comingled and expended on unallowed expenditures.

      It’s worse because there may be documents missing per the language used. The report deserves it’s own post.

  6. I received a call last night, Doug, from a person with experience in law enforcement and in and Drug Forefeiture specifically who said the same thing you just posted. They concluded after reading the document posted on the city’s website the same thing you just posted—-this very well may not be the complete document.
    However, it is not good with funds missing and unaccounted for to quote the DOJ report
    “Funds spent from equitable sharing account deemed impermissible expenditures”
    Also. No documentation to account for missing funds having been spent on Police Dept. needs.
    And, the city’s police dept. Funds are still on lockdown until the answers come back to DOJ in a manner that satisfied the findings.
    Ghe selection of the third party auditing firm is crucial for the Council.
    I would not want to be in any of their shoes this morning.

  7. Holy Loads of Less with Les Batman,

    Got a Les in Baton Rouge who is stubborn and misrepresents what is happening on his watch and now recruits are decomitting and then we got a Les in Bay St.Louis whose character and performance is the same.

    I do believe both Les’s are over due and bout ready to get axed , plucked ,stuffed and deep fried . One will get stuffed with $$$$ another stuffed with Federal probes.

  8. Karen Nelson’s article on P. 3A of the Sun Herald this morning on the Singing River Hospital theft of retirees pension plans begs the same question as Bay St. Louis city officials absconding with their utility users bills in 2013——” what did they do with the money???????
    The utility users and retirees were faithfully paying, but SOMEBODY decided to divert their payments with NO authority fr the Boards they serve, and the folks, once again, get the short end of the stick.
    My hope is that all of these people who have been robbed will prevail SOMEDAY SOMEHOW!!!!!

  9. P.S.
    These ill intentioned keepers of people’s money need to have their deeds publicly displayed on the front page of newspapers rather than page 3.
    Who at the Sun Herald decided French Dressing at Pizza Restuarants was more worthy of front page news than a story on people losing their retirement plans???!!!

    1. You are so correct!!!! Can you see the meeting, ok pizza dressing or broke pension for the front page???? Lets go with the food it should help sell papers!

    2. Agreed, Lana. The retirees’ story is more important than what salad dressing folks on the coast prefer on their pizza.

      The new editor @ The Sun Herald is Blake Kaplan.

  10. Just an FYI…The Sun Herald openly, in the their election editorial supported the Re-election of Les Filingame as a great leader!

    They need to do a story on how their recommendations went across the coast!

    I was a loser in Bay Saint Louis!

  11. So, let’s see, Dumped On, what can we say about the Sun Herald Editorial Board at that time:
    “It is far better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt!!”
    If he doesn’t get re-elected, perhaps they’ll offer him to manage their finance department??!!

  12. The Sun Herald has never been a friend to any city West of Gulfport. And poor BSL and Waveland on the other side of the Bridge. Totally the step child. The paper sometimes forgets it represents the Gulf Coast not just East Harrison County and Jackson County.
    As for the report, let’s hope the elected officials and employees that misappropriated the funds are punished and our great city of BSL and its residents are the winners.
    We all have to wait and see what the DOJ does with the report. That is the next issue we have to watch. Getting a report is one thing, the outcome is another.

  13. Now Les is blaming the auditing firm for the Hida funds being spent wrong. His quote “they should have caught it 9 years ago”. Les you signed an affidavit that it was properly spent, so you and Davey clerk are to blame. You LIED on a Federal form dombazz.

  14. Maybe the people Les has asked to lie will wake up and realize they better start cooperating than getting fitted for a new striped suit. He definitely will throw them under the bus to save himself. We all know that from past experience on this whole fiasco.

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