Christmas falling on a Sunday has been good for the 24×7 news cycle, especially locally. The Rabble-Rousers are out in full force in the Bay ahead of next Tuesday’s workshop on the future direction of the Bay PD. A packed public workshop would be a good thing, especially if those that came out for the workshop at 4:30 stayed for the ensuing City Council meeting which starts at 5:30. Per the last workshop Councilmen Seal and Compretta are on record against consolidating services with the Hancock Sheriff while Councilmen Reed, Falgout, Favre and Boudin have yet to take a public stand on the issue.
Back on the 9th I wrote the following about the meeting with the United States Department of Justice in Jackson between certain City officials and the DoJ folks that are locally responsible for the Equitable Sharing Grant, which the Fillingame Administration co-mingled and misspent:
Speaking of rumors, one is swirling that Mayor Fillingame yesterday blamed the entire fiasco on deceased former Chief of Police Mike Denardo going so far as to claim that Denardo had forged his signature on the annual financial affidavits submitted to DOJ which showed the restricted funds were still in the bank despite the fact they had been comingled and misspent by the Fillingame Administration.
Let’s back up over a week and visit with Cassandra Favre’s comprehensive article on the last City Council meeting ’cause it is all coming out:
Blame the dead man? A Classic and (classless) move as the Fillingame Administration passes straight through the twilight zone into the stuff of a cheap soap opera. Better yet was Cassandra capturing the nuance in the counsel provided to the City Council by City Attorney Trent Favre. To understand why we appreciated it is to understand that Slabbed earned its media card covering the post Katrina insurance litigation including the concept of double dipping coverages. In its most simple form in order for insurance coverage to kick in there had to be a loss and that loss could not necessarily be insured multiple times. Should the DoJ take pity on the City and not demand immediate repayment of the accumulated grant payments in favor of letting the City spend the money the way it should have been spent to begin with, then City Attorney Favre’s point about there being no insurable loss is valid.
There is a catch however and Cassandra picked it up:
Trent Favre said he has asked the bonding company to provide a list of covered acts. “Every bonding case I’ve ever looked at is an illegal act or malfeasance,”
….a few “elements” can be distilled from those cases. First, malfeasance in office requires an affirmative act or omission. Second, the act must have been done in an official capacity—under the color of office. Finally, that that act somehow interferes with the performance of official duties—though some debate remains about “whose official” duties.
In addition, jurisdictions differ greatly over whether intent or knowledge is necessary. As noted above, many courts will find malfeasance in office where there is “ignorance, inattention, or malice”, which implies no intent or knowledge is required.
Since the last Council meeting City Attorney Favre taken some criticism, here on Slabbed in comments and in emails involving City Council members. Stacey Cato nails that part in today’s Echo:
Stacey dead on nails the reason the Council defunded the administrative position in the Police Department but it is those pesky, amended DoJ affidavits that Hizzoner claims contained his forged electronic signature that is coming back to haunt him:
Fillingame said there were some amended reports sent in to the DOJ, but he thought “the intentions were good,” he said.
“Actually, before I was really brought into the conversation about the DOJ funds,” Fillingame said, “there were some reactions to the initial awareness of the fact that the funds … had not been spent as they (should have been in accordance with) the guidelines. I think what happened in those amended returns is that (the police department) had gone back and tried to recapture some of those expenses and report them, that really could have very easily qualified for those types of expenses, but (the DOJ) very quickly turned those amended returns back. Dismissed them, basically, because the actual expenses they considered in those amended returns had already been included in the budget.
“Those amended returns were filled out and sent in electronically and part of that electronic transmission process was to electronically sign the same names that had typically been signed manually on the other reports and I hadn’t participated in that but evidently they had just sent it in electronically.”
Fillingame said he wasn’t quite sure how his electronic signature was forged.
“It was evidently that was something that didn’t require a whole lot of personal information for them to click on my information,” he said, but “they were dismissed and really not used in the process. I didn’t make, really, that big of deal about that. Had it caused the city some issue, I would have made a big issue, but it really didn’t.”
It is an issue because Hizzoner made it an issue by blaming the dead man. Chief Denardo is not the first person Mayor Fillingame has put under the bus and he certainly will not be the last. I bet the two previous City Clerks could shed some light on the preparation and electronic transmission of those amended DoJ affidavits.
While we are on the topic of Hizzoner hoodwinking the locals this story is classic:
Yes, Virginia, there is a noise ordinance in BSL ~ Cassandra Favre
And speaking of noise ordinances and public nuisance bars today we have a tale of two Cities……
One City welcomes new businesses and outside investment but also aggressively moves to shut down businesses that operate outside the established norms. A Place Apart turns away new business and outside investment because it does not enforce its existing quality of life ordinances. The difference between the two is stark.