Time to Call It: The Dysfunctional City of Bay St Louis, a Municipality Apart….

I could write a treatise in real life failed local government from closely observing the workings of the Bay St Louis City government over the past three years but I’m not. I am ready to call it like I see it and can do so in a fairly short post. The overarching principle here is municipal government is dysfunctional because that is exactly the way the Mayor and City Council want it. And yes last night again saw a City Council divided on what I see as a fundamental issue: Council access to the legal services the cost of which is born by the City’s taxpayers. The vote was for more of the status quo.

To blame the financial catastrophe that has befallen the City solely on Mayor Fillingame would be misplaced. Over the past three years I’ve attended meetings where the assembled crowd knew more about operating within the four corners of the state statutes than those charged with governing. A cynical man would automatically think such public displays of ignorance from elected officials could only mean a hidden, self interest based agenda had to be present. The bottom line is don’t hold your breath waiting over the next year for things to improve as the administration is certain to ignore the directives of the City Council that it doesn’t like and the Council lacks the collective political will to force the administration to play nice, for lack of a better term. Even worse, with its current Ad Valorem levy about 33% low compared to its sister Cities here on the coast the problems can only continue. On the other hand given the fiscal mismanagement that’s occurred over the past seven years there is no way I could ever justify recommending giving the current Mayor and this City Council any more tax money to squander. Its a classic catch 22.

By my rough count there are about 11 months before the City’s voters go to the polls and it will take more than a simple house cleaning to cure the structural problems with a municipal government that does not levy enough general fund taxes to fund the delivery of basic city services across the entirety of the City. Politically, the council districts have been pitted against each other competing for the delivery of basic city services. The divide between Ward 6 residents, who are now relying on the County’s good graces to maintain the public rights of way there and Ward 2 residents that sometimes exhibit the attitude the City limits do not extend past the intersection of Washington St and US 90 was on display as recently as this past Tuesday’s regular meeting.

Having been around the entirety of South Mississippi both professionally and on a more up close and personal level, the irony in places like Poplarville, Picayune, Wiggins and Lucedale doing a superior job overall as stewards of taxpayer compared to A Place Apart is rich given how deeply certain of the Bay blue blood aristocracy regards the average Mississippi redneck. What separates these locales from Bay St Louis is more than a lack of refinement though. Bubba simply has more self-respect for his hard earned tax dollars and doesn’t much tolerate the type of tomfoolery that is on open display in Bay St Louis government.

The machinations of Bay St Louis City Government is certain to appear again in the news cycle as events are in motion that are beyond the control of the Mayor and the City Council. Its going to take a special group of people to work together to fix the Place Apart. I am not certain any of those people hold office today. Only the voters in Bay St Louis can change that.

27 thoughts on “Time to Call It: The Dysfunctional City of Bay St Louis, a Municipality Apart….”

  1. Well put. we have been listening to the tired old story for at least 3 years. The Council fights with the Mayor at public meetings but get no real results. He continues to exceed budgetary items, the Mayor or Attorney have no respect for council requests. The list never goes away it only gets longer. They give a contract to a prosecuting attorney and he barters it for rent to another attorney. WOW that is dedication to a good job and great oversight LOL. They know it yet they do it anyway. The attorney works at his own pleasure and our nickle now that is really a sweet deal! Complaining does nothing, action is the only thing that will work. They threaten Writs but do nothing. BLAH BLAH BLAH!

  2. My subdivision alone, in Ward 6, pays more taxes than the 100 & 200 block of Main St. The majority don’t have Homestead Exemption & have been the biggest contributors to the Mayor’s “Money Diversion Plan”. Here lives restaurateurs, hoteliers from New Orleans, judges, bank presidents, attorneys, etc. & Ward 2 thinks their poop don’t stink, huh?

  3. Well put Doug. Yes cajuncutie, the mayor and remaining council member seem to forget that non residents do pay a higher share of property taxes. Our local economy can not stand alone on just the residents of Hancock. Through the years the tourism and “weekenders” have heavily supported the local grocery store, restaurants and shops plus other entities. Just as other taxpayers, they should be heard and helped.
    These last few years have been horrible with no accountability from either the mayor or council or attorney. Hope the future brings better outcomes for BSL.

    1. The City Attorney’s shortcomings were discussed in detail at Thursday night’s recessed meeting as Slabbed noted on Twitter during our live coverage of the meeting. Stacey Cato noted the same in her story on the meetings for the Seacoast Echo. The thing that chapped so many folks was there was a public hearing scheduled for Tuesdays meeting that could not proceed without the City Attorney. No one was notified in advance he wouldn’t be there despite the fact the murder trial he was handling had to have been scheduled months before. One attendee evidently drove over an hour to come Tuesday night. No one at the City, not a single elected official or the Administration so much as considered notifying the public in favor of letting them waste their time.

      And with his contract expiring on June 30 one would think the renewal could have been handled earlier in June, especially given he had finally just signed a contract with the City Council. Instead the council votes 4-2 to give the man another 30 days. It reeks. I wonder what Mr. Rafferty has on Boudin, Seal, Compretta and Reed because that vote was not representing their constituents best interest in any way shape or form.

      If working for the City were important Mr. Rafferty would have taken care of the FY16-17 contract before he got busy. Instead he doesn’t bother to show up and gets 30 days for free.

      1. Bartering out the prosecution contract, failing to fulfill the obligations of requests by council members, putting on a defense for the Mayor on our nickel, refusing to exercise demands on the administration. This list could go further but is really not necessary at this point.

        Like he has said it’s all about who has the biggest penis in a small town! When Les,s nose grows his penis gets smaller!

  4. All of these are accurate, good points, Doug.
    But, the attorney puts no effort into his contract because he knows he doesn’t have to. Seal, Compretta, Boudin, and Reed don’t care. And if Wendy had been there, she would have joined the Mayor in his valiant argument in favor of Rafferty.
    The icing on Rafferty’s cake is he can continue to do what he wants and have the pleasure of frustrating Favre and Falgout, the only two who voted against Rafferty on behalf of the taxpayers!!!
    And the beat goes on.

  5. Shouldn’t taxpayers be able to get a “second opinion” on Rafferty’s contract since he draws it up himself?

  6. Canuncutie,
    One would think so, but in our representative form of government, we have to rely on our ” representatives ” to do that, and currently only two are in favor of making progress.
    My guess is with the current situation in the city, that contract will continue to be “renewed” one month at a time while the taxpayers suffer.

  7. Fact: only 3 councilman spoke on the OSA report with the exceptions of Ditto , Same & other mumbled bs by the other 3.
    Fact: only 2 voted to get rid of Raff.
    Fact: les stated he will go after the councils bond if they go after his for the DOJ money. Blackmail !! Watch & see who has balls now.
    Fact: failed drug test cover up denied by les but OSA stands by their finding.
    Fact: supplemental agreement was approved by council according to les but not so according to OSA.
    Fact: will bet there is only 2 votes to get rid of Oliver , new state law states no interim titles after 180 days. He’s had one for 5-6 years & still can’t pass the test. Putting a liability on the city because he is not certified to inspect.
    Fact: Favre tried to get rid of the building dept. During last 2 budgets but 5 against it.
    Fact: Illegal signed checks blamed on council by les. Also stated he didn’t know for 7 years his dumbass had to sign them.
    Fact: Sherrif’s dept. Is investigating some of the findings.
    Maybe they got the balls to do something & help the few councilman out that has opened their mouth & tried to do the right thing. Like them or not they have tried to do right without any support from the majority of the council. They keep on kicking.
    Fact: none of this would be out if the few had not asked questions & asked for help!!!!!
    So Doug & the rest I do believe a couple are trying to do right & have led the charge in correcting the problems this admin. & the rubber stamp council has created over the past 7 years. From the time the were elected they started the fight to find out what happened to the garbage money & has led into this big ole can of BS!! B
    Give some credit when credit is due.
    Good Night Sleep Right while les is on watch

    1. Oliver was tutored at the expense of the tax payer. $2000 dollars wasted. He can’t pass the test and as reported doesn’t have the basic reading & writing skills to do so.

      Les is just a fiscal & personal disaster. He has been stiffing people his whole life. Ask Charlie J. He partnered up with Les n Wifey on a video store, $80K later had to threaten embezzlement charges to get whole. It is stated he sold his retirement to avoid bars!

      He looked comfortable behind the bars on Saturday when the Pirates arrested him! Lol

  8. I thought the fire works Saturday night were in honor of the Council not renewing Rafferty’s contract. 30 more days and counting..
    Rod I think you should run for Mayor !!

  9. Laffy Raffy….wasn’t he a sight….he looked like an over weight pirate in drag….in real; life he wood have been a cabin boy wearing his jammy’s on backwards.

  10. Les’s City Vehicle has not moved since the OSA arrived some months ago. Is it broke with no funds to repair it or is it being held for Evidence. Prior to their (OSA) presence he was seen all over town. Picking up laundry, taking his wife to lunch, riding grand children around otherwise using it for personal business. HMMMMM

  11. Is there going to be a going away party for Charlie. His last day is Thursday as per the new State Law limiting Interim Positions to 180 Days.

    1. I would not hold my breath waiting for that to happen. Hizzoner still plays games with the personnel budget and the City Council has demonstrated they are not up to reigning him in.

  12. It will be interesting to see what happens today… Knowing Les he’ll find another position for Charlie. He can’t just let him go. If he did he would have to hear dear dear Rhonda come to the meeting and express her opinion. Please spare us all if we have to listen to her.

    1. If he gives him another position it will have to be one that is budgeted for and at the budgeted pay scale. Quid Pro Quo has short falls, sometimes its not enough to keep your system in place.

      1. He must still be around, I saw him on the job site yesterday of the Murphy’s rebuild on the Beach downtown BSL. I was told he has taken the test to get certified several times and has never achieved a score higher than 38.. That is out of a 100. That is just great. So much knowledge and head of the building department. I wonder if there was a test to be mayor what Les would score?

        1. He is in denial with raff. Their pay checks are shortly done. Sorry Charlie we are not looking for what you offer. You should have asked Les to rethink his demented plan. Lies, intimidation, and worse do not work in modern society!”

  13. Doug,
    Are you aware of the $100K+ property clean up that the administration and the counselor failed to adjudicate to the tax rolls? The Administration cleaned up private property on our nickle and they failed to take measures to collect it back as ordered by the council. Must be constituents, large voting block families or just out right favors on our nickle. This is a classic Errors and Omissions Claim. Omitting to recoup tax payers money as per standard operating procedures and requests from the council is a valid claim.

  14. No one at the local state or federal level will do anything about the widespread and rampant corruption ongoing state-wide – our governor, attorney general, state auditor, secretary of state, most all legistlators, federal prosecutors and hand-picked, appointed judges are all in cohoots in a fraternal order of good ole boys intent on stealing as much federal and state funds as they can get away with. I’m not wasting my time filing complaints with anyone of these individuals/agencies. Write to the U.S. Attorney General and ask that they clean-up the corruption within the Southern District and put these criminals away. Trent Lott, Haley Barbour, et al., have stacked the deck in their favor and they operate with impunity because they have their people in place at all levels. Dickie Scruggs didn’t bribe just one judge and his brother-in-law, Trent, is a liar when he says he never promised anyone a federal judgeship – research it and I’ll bet you’ll find Trent/Barbour & Company had a hand in the selection of our local federal judges like Guirola, Starret, and others that keep issuing odd rulings that don’t hold to the letter of the law, drop numerous charges against the corrupt when caught or exposed, and impose minimum sentences on the “elite” while imposing the maximum on the poor, non-fraternal individuals that come before the Courts.

    Call the U.S. Attorney General and ask for a full investigation into corruption in MS government and misexpenditure of federal funds.

  15. JC, you hit it on the head! Judge Starret just gave Sean Anthony only 6 months for bribing public officials for multi million dollar contracts. $50K fine and 6 months house arrest. Crime does pay! That is a slap in the face of the tax payers every where!

  16. Rafferty and Les have no control over the Top Cop in the county. This will be their undoing. Abusing authority and the law have been hall marks of their MO. They try to silence citizens who do not see it their corrupted way with legal intimidation, harassment and worse. I want them to get justice in the proper way so they can see they are assholes that just refuse to do it right. They are rotten to the basic core of senserity. It’s not about who has the biggest penis like raff says!

  17. How cities end up in a state of financial ruin:

    Opa-locka turned public utility into extortion racket

    While examining the computer billings — scores of accounts — Leonard found that city employees with access to the system were shutting down delinquent accounts, some with overdue payments, and then opening new ones at the same address, he said.

    “They were able to actually wipe out the debts,” Leonard said.

    In March 2012, Leonard wrote a scathing memo detailing several suspicious accounts, including the Vankara school, and urged the commission to pay for a forensic audit.

    The memo was turned over to Opa-locka police, who began an internal investigation that turned up even more problems.

    In addition to the suspicious billings, investigators found an entirely new level of corruption rarely seen even in large cities.

    Records show that a cadre of public works employees had spent years creating a “parallel” water system by bypassing the city’s meters and installing illegal “feeds” into homes and businesses.

    Instead of the city getting paid each month, the customers would pay cash — monthly fees of $40 to $100 — directly to the employees.

    No wonder the forensic audit was cancelled.

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