That post title is a mouthful folks. So while we continue to dig out after taking a long weekend to see the eclipse here are a few documents of interest. First up is from Slabbed’s Twitter timeline:
Slabbed has confirmed with #SMTTT. Hancock Library Director did not finish Library Science Masters. Info on Clearinghouse 100% accurate.
— Slabbed New Media (@SlabbedNewMedia) August 21, 2017
Lana Noonan was kind enough to nab via Public Records Request the Tuition Assistance Grant Agreement between Ms. Thomas and the Mississippi Library Commission for everyone to see. As Lana aptly put it seeing the documents is so much better than gossip:
Interesting and important is that Ms. Thomas only drew $4,600 of the $10,000 total grant. From the Transparency Mississippi Website:
To reiterate, the qualifications set out per the Mississippi Library Commission for areas with population greater than 15,000 people require the local Executive Director to have a Masters in Library Science within three years of hire or per the contemporaneous press accounts, May 2017 for Ms. Thomas. Had she still been on progress for the Masters, I doubt anyone would have raised a fuss if the academic work had been completed at the expiration of the Tuition Assistance Grant earlier this month. But none of that happened. The political damage done to the system by Ms. Thomas and her ‘handpicked’ Board of Trustees during this time period however is undeniable.
Did anyone else watch the Bay St Louis City Council meeting last night? I watched part of it. The most disappointing part was when Council President Seal let people stand up in the audience and address the Council without going to the Microphone during the library segment. With the audio quality so poor to begin with the viewing public was cheated out of hearing part of the meeting. And then last night the bat signals began coming in thus the following Tweet this morning:
Sources in Hancock County government indicate County prepared to cut Bay St Louis out of library inter local after last #BSLCouncil meeting.
— Slabbed New Media (@SlabbedNewMedia) August 24, 2017
Next up is tourism and the diversion of a 2% Hotel-Motel tax to the Coast wide CVB by the Hancock Sups. First up exactly who is the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention and Tourism Bureau and by that I mean their governing Board? Luckily for everyone they are transparent by sharing their meeting minutes on the internet. Here is a snippet that identifies the governing Board:
The problem per the Attorney General’s Office is that the Hancock Sups lacked the statutory authority to divert the 2% Hotel-Motel Tax to the Coastwide CVB as the law was very specific that the money go to the Hancock County CVB, an agency that was to the point of closing its doors because of the tax diversion. Here is the AG opinion that was sought by State Representative David Baria:
Behind the scenes the Hancock Chamber had proposed additional local funding of Hancock County Tourism according to a proposal that was circulated within the Bay St Louis City Council obtained by Slabbed New Media. One major issue was the Chamber’s proposal was the cost, which was roughly two times the amount of the current Hancock CVB operating budget. With this AG Opinion it appears the Hancock CVB is back in business while Hancock County’s continued participation in the Coastwide CVB will certainly be the cause for much more discussion both in the County and in Biloxi, where the regional CVB is based.