Bay City Councilmen Favre and Falgout have issued statements regarding the future of the Bay PD

And folks in these statements is some new information regarding the criminal investigations into the operations of the Bay St Louis PD. First up from Outgoing Council President Falgout:

Recently your City Council has been researching and evaluating operations of City Departments for cost cutting measures and better services.

Please allow me to enter my thoughts, opinion plus some information as your Councilman. PLEASE NOTE that as Council President there is INFORMATION I CANNOT share. So please give me a little leeway.

1. Who, When, Why, Where, and How did this $320,000 DOJ money go missing? This deficit dates back to 2011. It is not the City’s money. It belongs to the men and women of Bay St Louis PD who put their life on the line EVERYDAY! It was NOT disclosed to ANY Council memmber until Mike Farve, Joey Boudin. and myself was called to a private meeting by Chief Mike Denardo after hours to disclose his notes and findings. We then called for a review and investigation.
2. Since Mike Denardo’s suicide, there has been continuing investigations by NUMEROUS Federal, State and Local enforcement agencies. They are all still active as of this email.
a. BSL expended approx. $4,000 immediately to “secure evidence” by building a secure “evidence room” under the guidance of Sheriff’s Office and the MBI because of “lack of controls” over evidence.
b. City Attorney, Mike Favre, Mayor and myself, with Detectives, were made aware with evidence the day BEFORE Mike Denardo’s death of criminal allegations. Detectives requested evidence and a complete Police Department inventory of weapons directly of Mayor Fillingame. IT was not then available. We had to wait about one hour until one was brought to us to cross reference evidence. Very concerning to the Detectives and us since State law plus Police protocol requires it to be update to date and immediately available.
3. Info presented at that meeting of “gun pawning.”
4. Info also given regarding “payroll time sheets” from the police department that were delivered to the Administration to pay payroll.
5. Notes and other information was intentionally “left behind” by Mike Denardo for the detectives conducting the investigation.
6. I have personally met with face to face and by other means with some BSL officers, at their request, about numerous concerns they have now and still have.
7. There are current Police brutality cases.
8. Officer accused in one of the above cases has an attorney and is contemplating legal action against BSL.

Other info being “looked at” and or being investigated that I’m not allowed to state.

The above is information of facts, not assumptions, scare tactics or political rhetoric but based on info from meetings that I attended as Council President and or Vice-President over the last approximately 14 months.

Clearing up of misinformation that’s being talked about or being “spread” erronously:
1. BSL PD is not being abolished, eliminated or “taken over” and being brought “down to Sheriff’s Office.”
a. You will not notice any changes in uniforms, cars, building, where you call for a car (228-255-9191), 911 and or picking up copies.
b. Court will still be held at Council Chambers. Fines will still be collected and kept by BSL.
c. BSL Police Cars will always be in BSL patroling unless a tragedy must bring us all together.
d. The lower pay adjustment from BSL to Hancock County will be supplemented by a stipend to each officer presently employed by BSL and retained by Sheriff’s Office. Health insurance, pension, etc. will not be lost but absorbed thru Hancock County’s payroll system.
e. BSL Police Officers, Detectives and HIDTA Drug agents will have more cooperation, guidance, training and technology presently used by Sheriff’s Office and City of Diamondhead which is under Contract presently with Sheriff’s Office.
d. We have in the past experienced “patrol shortages” in Ward 6 as some of you have notated to me and was verified by me. This proposed contract will allow Sheriff’s Office to move cars in to assist BSL cars that may be tied up in other matters. This includes their Detective Division assisting us.
2. The reductions you’re hearing about will come from streamlining administrative staff with Sheriff’s Office administrative staff, staffing patrols as needed per areas and cutting overhead.
3. I assure each and everyone of you that I and this Council will never reduce “boots on the ground” or sacrifice public safety to save a nickel! We will and can add to staff as warranted by needs. The Council, Mayor and public will be briefed by Sheriff major on concerns that he may have go forward and he will listen and take our input on public safety matters in Bay St Louis.
4. Officers will still be able to receive and be compensation for off-duty activities.
5. BSL will have a Sheriff appointed Captain that will serve as required as BSL Police Chief.
6. BSL will be under the direction of our elected Sheriff Ricky Adam, Under Sheriff Don Bass and with cooperation of his entire staff as we may require.
7. We WILL NOT be billed any more than our monthly Contract when Sheriff’s Office “assist’s us” with “additional enforcement help” per our current interlocal mutual assistance agreements.

Finally I’d like to thank Sheriff Adam for being there for us in a very tragic time when we needed him.

Councilman Favre: Continue reading “Bay City Councilmen Favre and Falgout have issued statements regarding the future of the Bay PD”

Financial Failures of 2013 still haunting A Place Apart: The Case for Outsourcing Code and Law Enforcement (Part 1)

Going back over 140 plus posts Slabbed has done on the financial operations of the City of Mayberry Bay St Louis serves as a reminder that we’ve been on that particular beat since the Spring of 2014 and had been paying attention for about a year before that. In hindsight 2013 was the watershed year and that year also happened to be the last election year for City officials. To understand what is happening now is to understand what was going on back then. Also key to understanding today’s events is to understand that “A Place Apart” truly is Apart from a Home Rule Charter standpoint and therein lies the root cause of the problem. First up is the City’s Charter which is colloquially known as “Strong Mayor-Weak Council”.

There are about 300 municipalities in Mississippi and the overwhelming majority (90% or so) use the “Weak Mayor” home rule option. Bay St Louis is one of ten municipalities that use Strong Mayor: Here is the skinny from the Stennis Institute at Mississippi State:

The mayor-council form of government is essentially a “strong mayor” form of government made available by the legislature in 1973 and approved by the Department of Justice in August 1976. It is used in 10 municipalities in Mississippi: Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, Columbus, Greenwood, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Jackson, Laurel, Meridian and Tupelo.

The Bay is the runt municipality in the strong mayor world. The proverbial strong mayor has vast power including almost complete control over the City’s workforce. Larger Cities benefit from this kind of organization because keeping the bureaucracy on point is easier when there is a clear Chief Executive. In smaller Cities with smaller work forces like “A Place Apart” it has the drawback in allowing day to day municipal operations to be dominated by a single person, in this case Hizzoner.

The City Council (as opposed to Board of Aldermen in “Weak Mayor”) only controls two things directly and those would be the budget and the annual audit. City Councils also have investigative authority under the law.

With that set up we need to circle back to the previous City Council that was in place in 2013. Not long before the election that Council began to allow the Mayor to spend the remainder of the municipal reserve fund on capital projects such as decorative street lamps for Wards 2 and 3. By the time the party primary elections took place in May 2013 the City was effectively broke despite the Mayor’s very public denials in the media. We know the City was broke because less than a year later the City’s auditors disclosed they were considering issuing a “Going Concern” opinion on the City’s financial statements. But its worse than just being broke. Continue reading “Financial Failures of 2013 still haunting A Place Apart: The Case for Outsourcing Code and Law Enforcement (Part 1)”