Last night’s WLOX newscasts at 6 and 10 both featured the Bay St Louis DoJ Equitable Sharing fund disaster, first with the 6PM newscast showing an interview with Councilman Boudin where he disclosed the Council was filing claims on the bonds of the Mayor, the late Chief Denardo and the two City Clerks (Kolf and Smith) that had a hand in misspending the Federal grant, which was intended for use in law enforcement. Mayor Fillingame sent in a statement after the 6PM newscast that said:
“I think if it is their personal desire to pursue a claim against any employee or official against all of the professional advice that they have received, there will be great personal liability. The only losses that have been suffered by the taxpayers of Bay St. Louis has been the loss of money spent by the council pursuing claims that don’t exist. We have spent exuberant amounts of money on having this reviewed, audited and looked at legally. The council has gotten no advice from any of the auditors or agencies that have reviewed this, nor have they had any of the city’s legal counsel advise them that there is any claims against any person that has participated in the DOJ program. That money was put in the general fund account and spent by the counsel. None of the money was lost, it was spent in the process of serving the community. Before you have a claim you have to have a loss, and there has been no loss.”
Today Slabbed received an excerpt of a draft of the OSA performance review which debunks the Council going “against all the professional advice that they have received”:
In fairness to the Mayor the final report linked above omitted the repayment language but to say the Council is going against all the professional advice they have received is inaccurate as the above clearly indicates the topic of how to handle a repayment was covered in the OSA performance review. Whether a loss has occurred, a topic Slabbed covered, is a legal question that will have to be sorted out.
Meantime I wonder if anyone else giggled hearing WLOX anchor Christina Garcia use the term “mingle” instead of the proper financial term “commingle” to describe what happened with the DoJ funds in the Bay?
Then new police Chief Freeman took to the podium to update the Council on the massive mold problems at the Bay PD station house. This problem has been an open secret locally for around 10 days, Slabbed hearing about it from a Bay City employee that was not authorized to speak with the media. Unable to keep it secret from the public Hizzoner took the story to the Echo, which ran it in today’s paper: Continue reading “It was indeed a Humdinger…..”
Trustee Bell also invited both Lana Noonan of the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government and Cami Cornfoot, a former Candidate for School Board who remains very active volunteering at the schools to sit in. We had a frank and wide ranging discussion, some of which will be covered in the next post.
To his credit Bell was proactive gathering information from the central office to share with us and that information included a list of top administrator salaries and how they were funded. As Lana pointed out that information alone has news value and it will be shared with the people that read Slabbed. We’re also going to address the toxic environment created by the void left by the departure of former Superintendent Becky Ladner. Hopefully we can distill a very complex and fluid set of circumstances that became evident at the last Board of Trustees meeting.
This much is clear from those observing the School Board, which was dominated by a single forceful personality for the better part of the last 13 years. It now has five individuals that are of five different minds that are working in what is new territory for each. I used the term “fractious” to describe the Board and not in a negative connotation. It’s a good sign the system is working like it should.
As most of you are aware I have been and will continue to be a critic of the lack of code enforcement, ADA Compliance Laws, architectural protocol and controls by The City of Bay St. Louis’ Code Enforcement within our Bay St. Louis Building Department.
Since 2005 many governments, organizations and especially our citizens have been “bilked” out of hundreds of millions of dollars by unscrupulous “contractors and individuals” that promised “we’ll help your recovery” giving “trust me” assurances. We should have learned a valuable lesson! But unfortunately folks, the problem is still thriving and hurting our constituents. We as legislators from Jackson to local Council and Alderman board rooms must put in, enact and pass laws to protect our citizens. From simple jobs to building homes, our expectations must be of the highest standard of accountability for all. Constractors should be licensed, bonded, insured and in good standing or we will force them and prosecute according with our laws. We should not accept anything but quality work.
As for the aggression incident on January 24, 2017, I as a Councilman and/or as a private citizen, did not knowingly or willfully place my hands on Mr. Marquar as alleged. I have and will continue to consult with our City Attorney, Police Chief, City Prosecutor and my personal attorney on the options available to me as a Councilman and as a individual to resolve this matter within the justice system.
The new presidential administration is starting out on a worse note than I thought possible as the White House realigns the public conduct of l’affaire d’etat with the methods used by countries like North Korea: