I have a good friend, that when aggravated, will smile and threaten to slap offending party “naked” but I’ve never heard of slapping a woman around because she wouldn’t get naked quickly enough for a drunken Sunday romp between the sheets until my State Representative Doug McLeod made the news for allegedly doing just that.
The McLeod’s, after Doug was threatened with getting thrown out of the Mississippi House of Representatives, issued statements saying it was all just a big misunderstanding. The general feeling is Mrs. McLeod’s statement was especially pitiful as it comes across as a battered woman enabling her hubby’s terrible behavior, which is exactly how I took it.
That McLeod needs to resign his seat is self-evident. In a perfect world Mr. McLeod would start going to AA, Mrs McLeod would start going to Al Anon and they would live happily ever after. Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world and at best, District 107 will be represented for the next 4 years by a marginalized back bencher.
I do not have a ton of extra time today to write a more comprehensive post on this topic but is the State Auditor’s repayment demand related to the City of Pascagoula designed to help get Mayor Dane Maxwell a seat on the PSC? In my opinion the answer is clearly yes because both the City and Shad White stopped way short on going after all of the culpable parties such as the audit firm which evidently never bothered to read the bond covenants to test compliance with same, to name one such party. Heck, Mayor Dane even re-hired the audit firm, which evidently uses the three wise monkeys method of auditing so they were actually rewarded here.
The fact that the co-mingling of bond money into the general fund didn’t end until Mayor Dane ran up over $9 million of the accumulated deficit should not be lost on anyone. None of that excuses the actions of Maxwell’s predecessors Joe Huffman and Bobby Parker but Shad White’s office stopped far short here. I’d submit that Maxwell is a cesspool politician of the type that White would do well to keep an eye on rather than assist.
Maxwell is opposed by Kelvin Schulz on the GOP side for Southern District PSC. Based on his June campaign finance report, Schulz does not appear to be a serious candidate. Former Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran and Sugar Stallings are battling on the Democratic side.
At the July 17, 2017, meeting of the Hancock County Board of Supervisors, Board President, Blaine La Fontaine, introduced the discussion for the dissolution of the Hancock County Solid Waste Commission. He concurred with the opinion of a growing number of citizens that this is an unnecessary layer of government for the taxpayers to support. La Fontaine backed up his statement with a study that he said revealed a savings of at least $125,00 a year in engineering and legal services alone. He suggested an inter-local agreement with the 3 cities similar to what Harrison County does and an invoice system for the collection of costs. In a county like Hancock where 75% of the school children are on free lunch, and the other 25% of the population are paying the bills, any savings is welcome news to the payers, and also exhibits a sense of fiscal responsibility on the part of our elected officials. Those were the viable “meat and potatoes” benefits outlined in the Board President’s presentation.
Since that presentation by La Fontaine, The Hancock County Alliance for Good Government has been doing some research of our own at the Solid Waste Commission reviewing minutes, audits, budgets, etc. Overages in engineering and legal fees are commonplace, and unfortunately go unaddressed by the Commission. Sadly, no mention in any minutes by the Commissioners of attempting to curtail these overages.
While all of the aforementioned issues matter on the bottom line to the taxpayers, the real selling point for the dissolution of this extra layer of county government came sharply into focus when Alliance members attended the June 10, meeting of the Commission. The lack of interest of the Commissioners is disturbing. Two didn’t utter one word during the entire meeting. The annual audit was presented without any pertinent questions. It was probably the shortest audit presentation to a public body we have ever witnessed. One Commissioner actually admitted he had not even read the audit even though it was sent to them in advance of the meeting.
The most egregious section of the meeting was when The Alliance asked the Commissioners about a resolution they passed in their minutes March 12, 2018 (15 months ago) to write to the MDEQ asking for MDEQ’s support of the Commission’s approval of the upgrade of another landfill in the county. I had personally visited the Solid Waste Office and made a Public Records Request for the Commission’s letter to MDEQ and MDEQ’s response when I found the resolution in their minutes. The secretary contacted me the next day to say my request could not be granted because there was no document available due to a decision by the Commission not to proceed in contacting MDEQ. A further review of their minutes has revealed no discussion, decision, or motion subsequent to March 12, 2018, resulting in a decision not to write to MDEQ. But, it is all too apparent that decision was made at sometime between March 12, 2018 and June 10, 2019, because the March 12, 2018, resolution they passed is still sitting in their minutes without being acted upon. Continue reading “To the Editor | Time to Sunset Hancock Solid Waste Authority”