Folks, I thought Mayor Dane and his band of Trumpies had all the answers. Maybe he should have been paying attention to the City’s checkbook instead of grandstanding for headlines in the press last December because the topic of the City being broke should have been publicly discussed way before now:
The story is instructive in the respect that Carter recounted the events Joe Friday style but as you’ll learn reading this post, when the City Attorney is involved in ‘splaining the annual audit, there is going to be a certain level of dishonesty bandied about because it taketh not a lawyer to explain numbers, though lawyers can certainly spin them. Here is an example of some of the bigger whoppers told a few days back:
The auditor and council agrees that this was not an issue from the previous council, but an issue spanning multiple past administrations.
Per the audit reports on file at the Office of the State Auditor there was $4.5 million dollars cash in the General Fund at September 30, 2015 and the General Fund was owed $5.3 million by other City Funds. By September 30, 2016 the City’s General Fund had no cash and was owed a whopping $14.2 million by other City Funds. The General Fund also owed other funds $8.861 million in money it had taken from them in the City pooled bank account.
Anyone with half a brain, including those who purport to be the City’s leaders that balance their own checkbooks could recognize the red flags. The audit report, dated June 29, 2017 was certainly a rude gift to the new City Council and Mayor but the City’s bleak financial picture was certainly no secret. According to the date stamp by the Office of the State Auditor the 2016 annual audit was received by them on October 3, 2017, which means the audit was submitted over 3 months late. I did a cursory search of the Mississippi Press’ on line story archive and do not see a story about the presentation of the 2016 audit to the City Council but I did find a few nuggets:
Q: What is the future of Pascagoula in your opinion and what is next for you?
Blevins: The future of Pascagoula, without question, is very bright. We have a vibrant city, new people moving back into our city, new projects which in turn bring new amenities to our city and greater reliability. Pascagoula is and will continue to be a great place to live, work, play, and to raise your family. Looking forward, I see stronger economic times on the Gulf Coast and new businesses on the horizon that could change the landscape of Pascagoula.
It seems the old Mayor and the new Mayor were good at keeping secrets where nary is heard a discouraging word:
It seems that people are excited by the progress Maxwell has made so far as he looks to lead Pascagoula for the next four years.
It wasn’t like someone wasn’t minding the store after all.
And that progress Maxwell touted? According to the 2016 audit the General Fund Balance Deficit was $794,000. Let’s recall the headline of Tyler Carter’s story from last week:
From my standpoint Mayor Dane looks like a “tax and spend liberal” to me, to the tune of $13 plus million dollars in one year alone managing to dig the City in a bit more than 13 times deeper in the hole than the financial shit show he inherited. As for Mayor Dane, this is what he had to say at the City Council meeting:
Mayor Dane Maxwell has continued to state that the numbers the current council received did not align with the numbers they received when they entered office, however, Maxwell said he is actively looking for solutions to right the ship in the city.
This begs the question what numbers were Mayor Dane and the Council given when they entered office because the 2016 audit which the State Auditor’s Office received from Mayor Dane came straight from the City. But nonetheless Mayor Dane was more than willing to put an underling under the bus:
While Maxwell was visibly upset at the revelation of learning of the city’s financial woes, councilwoman at-large Jennifer Colmer and Mayor Pro-Tempore Stephen Burrow cautioned Maxwell against making unsubstantiated claims.
Maxwell made the claim that the former comptroller employed by the city would have provided the current administration with what he described as “fradulent” numbers.
So when bob and weave is the order of the day to hide Mayor Dane’s culpability in making a bad situation far worse what is a peacocking Mayor to do? Commission a “Forensic audit” to ‘splain what Slabbed just explained. This happens every time City leaders spend tax money like drunken sailors and then act stupid.
Make no mistake folks, Dane Maxwell traces his lineage straight to the swamp. I wouldn’t be looking to him for much in the way of an honest answer.
Slabbed is going to be following this story.