Let’s start at the end rather than the beginning on this one.
At roughly 11:00pm last evening, March 8, the Bay St. Louis City Council elected to go into Executive Session for personnel and litigation matters, so those of us who had endured the 51/2 hour meeting exited to the lobby until we were called back in only to find, as usual, that no action was taken.
Just prior to adjournment, Ward I Councilman Doug Seal levied his objection to Council President, Joey Boudin, that “people” were being allowed to “talk to long” at Public Forum. Boudin countered that he did indulge one citizen from Ward III, but had no problem with it since the Council only meets twice a month and he felt like the citizens deserved to be heard.
Ward II Councilwoman, Wendy McDonald, then stated “this is a business meeting.” Yep, that’s what she said. And, that begs the question Madam Council, “whose business?”. Do you think you are sitting on the board of a private enterprise? The “business” you are conducting is the public’s.
Certainly if we can sit through 6 hours of hearing your voice, ours can be heard for 30 minutes or so. Not to mention that, for the most part, the most logical and worthy comments come from the citizens at the podium. They just continue to fall on deaf ears.
Yes, we sat through another fiasco of the Building Dept. and its unqualified Chief Inspector Charles Oliver. One of Oliver’s underlings actually admitted to Council and all present Tuesday night that he does inspections on dumpsters, but doesn’t actually know the regulations that pertain to dumpsters.
Then there is the drama of the Port and Harbor commission and the Mayor’s request to the Council on January 19, 2016 ratifying his “appointment” to the Port and Harbor Commission, when none of them have the legal authority under state law to make an “appointment” as the City only “nominates”. This went on for a long time too for the second meeting in a row. The proper procedure, by state law, is for the local officials to nominate, and the Governor to choose a commissioner from their list of names to represent their city. The City Attorney sat silently through this on January 19, 2016 not once correcting or guiding these misinformed public officials. The City Attorney only discovered the law when someone other than the Mayor’s choice showed up with a letter from the Governor appointing him to the Port and Harbor Commission! Bay St. Louis has some 11,000 residents, but the Mayor can only think of one person to nominate? Yes, truth is stranger than fiction. But truth has become a rare commodity nowadays.
The citizens of Ward III, specifically the residents on Washington Street, told the gruesome tale of the horrors that are occurring at the Martin Luther King Park on a regular basis; everything from very young children being dropped off and left unattended, to drugs, gambling, loud music, and “things people shouldn”t do in public”! This seems like an administrative issue and should not have come before Council. In their defense the local residents may have complained to the Mayor to no avail.
Then there is the ongoing saga of the city’s current audit, which should have begun in October, and still hasn’t been started by the new firm, because the books are not ready to be audited. Former City Clerk, Robert Clark, resigned in November, (Mayor Fillingame publicly denied Clark had left) and still hasn’t been replaced. This is the kind of work City Clerks do, they get the books ready for the annual audit, that is if the City will ever get the lead out of its @$$ and hire one. Unreal.
The City HR director gave a report as to why he recommended Rosetti and Betz for the city’s insurance, saying “the other agency only wanted to bid” on the City’s property and casualty coverage while Rosetti and Betz bid on the whole package. I have been informed today that while that assertion is true, the other agency was told to only bid the property and casualty portion of the City’s coverage.
I am still not clear on the discrepancy of the city assets on the insurance schedule. One figure given last meeting was $11 million, and the other was $14 million. I can see being a hundred thousand off, but for a city the size of Bay St. Louis, $3 million seems like a whole lot of difference to me.
So, there you have it. The aforementioned took 6 hours. Yes, the public endured 6 hours of listening to their officials, but Council persons McDonald and Seal object to giving those same citizens (you know, the folks that pay their salaries, benefits, and retirement) 20 minutes at the podium.
It’s time to do some house cleaning. Where’s the broom?!