Ms. Anderson broke the news she was discharged yesterday morning via Facebook:
It was getting on to 11pm when the council came out of an executive session. No video was running and only myself and three other people were present when they reconvened. They approved the minutes and then Larry Smith said he wanted to make a motion.
I’m paraphrasing, but it was something to the effect of “I make a motion that we discharge Ellis Anderson from the Historic Preservation Commission.” There was no discussion or reason given. I wasn’t asked to speak.
Gary Knoblock was out of the room, but Smith, Gene Hoffman, Buddy Zimmerman and Josh Desalvo voted yes. Doug Seal and Jeff Reed voted no.
After the meeting adjourned, I asked for some explanation. The mayor and Josh DeSalvo mentioned a possible lawsuit brought on by something I’d done on behalf of HPC. I pointed out that I’d only been carrying out an action discussed and voted on unanimously by the HPC at our last meeting. I wasn’t even chairing that meeting. I’d heard no complaints, nor had anyone contacted me to let me know there was an issue.
Sources in Bay City Government not authorized to speak with the media indicated to Slabbed weeks ago that Ms. Anderson became time limited after Mississippi Archives and History issued the stop work order on the P. J. Coffee Shop, which Slabbed covered back in March. The issue boiled down as follows:
The fact that the PJ’s location was on the National Register of Historic Places was a very well known fact there in old town yet somehow both the Histerical Preservation folks and the people in the City’s building department weren’t in on the secret and the dime dropper certainly wasn’t going to volunteer anything except to MDAH. No sugar coating it, this turn of events represents a black eye for the Favre Administration. Jim MacPhaille has the means to get past the issue, its just a question of how much extra money it will take to rectify things.
The same City sources have indicated to Slabbed that MacPhaille indeed has threatened legal action, which would explain the lawsuit reference in Ms. Anderson’s Facebook post. I think it was another Facebook post of Ms. Anderson’s that sealed her fate:
HPC missed all that with the P.J.’s location before the anonymous dime dropper called MDAH. For the four Councilmen that voted to remove Ms. Anderson from HPC, I think that was the last straw. Slabbed heard from several sources that Mayor Favre seriously entertained folding existing HPC functions into Planning and Zoning and eliminating it completely. I would take Tuesday’s Council vote as an indication a consensus has been reached between Mayor Favre and the Council on how HPC will look go forward. I think the goal here would be to avoid repeats of what happened to Mr. MacPhaille and Ms. Warner, another resident that could have lawyered up and successfully sued the City (IMHO) due to HPC’s taking sides in a dispute between neighbors.
I think the bottom line here is residents are seeing a contrast between the new Administration, that won’t take more than one black eye before making adjustments and the old, where such dysfunction was seemingly institutionalized. Just a guess but I seriously doubt Mr. MacPhaille will litigate the PJs disaster as he now has more important things to worry with such as developing the old Alcan property in Ward 4.