I normally try to keep Diamondhead off my mind….

And why is this?? Simple junior, anytime more than three residents are gathered in the same room trying to make public policy, a fight is going to break out. The third grade classes at East Hancock Elementary gets on better than the folks in Diamondhead, especially the elected officials on the POA who are the biggest bunch of self appointed blowhards to grace a Mississippi common interest realty association that I’ve personally ever experienced. Going after Michael Shaefer’s widow was particularly bad form IMHO.

All that said I’ve received several requests to cover what is going on in Diamondhead City government.  Doug Walker was around yesterday for WLOX as was Double D who is always around Diamondhead City Government. Poolman was around to fill out the peanut gallery yesterday and was quoted both in Dwayne’s piece and Doug Walker’s report.

The long and short of this is the Mayor and the City Manager/City Council are battling each other which as I pointed out above is the norm in Diamondhead. Allegations of malfeasance have been leveled and there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth. One thing everyone agrees on is that Sam Atkins of the Performance Audit division of the State Auditors Office needs to come do a Performance Review like the one being finalized for the City of Bay St Louis, because according to Press reports (and despite the fact the City Attorney is a State Legislator), no one in the City seems able to read and comprehend the Mayor-City Manager section of the “Home Rule ” section of the Mississippi Code thus they do not know if they are doing things right. Worth mentioning is the City has been audited three times by local firms since it came into existence and the last report contained eight findings which laid out in detail the internal control problems in City government.

I would hope Stacey Pickering tells the City’s elected officials to exhibit some leadership and come back to his office after they have the City’s 2015 audit completed. The 2014 FY took almost a year to complete and that is the first major problem that I see, the inability to close a set of books for the audit. Finding out what you did wrong almost two years after the fact guarantees the same problems surface year after year after year and is frankly indicative of bad management. Experience tells me there are only two causes of a City running serially late with its audit:

1. Incompetent staff.
2. Inadequate staff levels.

Its seemingly always one of those two things with number 2 being the typical reason. In a Mayor-City Manager form of government that falls right back on the City Council and City Manager. Instead of trying to drag the State Auditor into a local power struggle, maybe the gang on the Diamondhead Council will discharge its statutory duties to see the annual audit is completed in a timely manner.  Even better maybe the gang will read the audit report to find out what they are doing wrong.

File this one under your tax dollars at work.

7 thoughts on “I normally try to keep Diamondhead off my mind….”

  1. Having sat through both of Sam Atkinson’s presentations to the Bay St. Louis City Officials, I can hear her now saying, “you speak through your minutes. If it is not in the minutes, it did not happen.”
    I just reviewed the Dec. 2014 and September 2015 minutes of the Diamondhead City Council, and can find no motions to give raises to anyone.
    Some are saying that it doesn’t matter what form of government a city has. What matters is the integrity of those operating it, and I agree to an extent. The only thing I disagree on is if you have a City Manager that is acting without authority of Council, he or she can be fired by Council. If it is an elected Mayor, you have to wait for the taxpayers to fire them which can be an eternity and more time for more mischief.
    One more reason you can add to a late audit, Doug, is “someone” could just not want the books audited for “whatever” reasons.

    1. The bad dynamic that can surface in Mayor-City Manager governments is a City Council figuring out that if they act as one, they can achieve a defacto oligarchy. All you need is a yes man installed as City Manager to front for the gang.

      I did not attend the meeting but there is a disturbing implication in the lack of documentation in the minutes for raises that everyone, by their own admission, knew about. Same for the waived building permit fee. The council used the Nunc Pro Tunc procedure to fix what ostensibly are oversights. But when you look at the situation from a slightly different angle what you end up with is government in the shadows where decisions are being made and hidden from the public.

      Regardless there is a reportable condition contained in the recent press coverage for the 2015FY audit.

  2. Nunc Pro Tunc… Sounds like a new strain of VD!!!! Gotta give Mayor Tommy TWO thumbs up for taking a stand for the taxpayers. Auditor complaints should prove to be interesting.

  3. Looks like the Bay is now going to use a Nunc Pro Tunc to bail Les and Raf out out the $13 per month utility fee. Les for months gave the council no answers as to the $13 even though he and Raf signed the contract with the bank that told them to open an account and place the money in the account each 30 days….. The page was missing from the documents and now he needs a bail out. Lets see if they do whats right!!!

  4. the council has been educated. raff and les are just begging for help. don’t worry there will be more coming les is persistent and ignorant.

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