Analysis | Definitive Account: “Supervisors finalize their end of new HCLS library agreement”

Dwayne Bremer was at Hancock Board of Sups meeting, which was dominated by Hancock County Library system Executive Director Courtney Thomas raising a ruckus over the proposed new inter-local agreement because it gives the County, the system’s largest financial contributor by far, a majority of the new Library Board seats. Ms. Thomas currently has a “handpicked board” per Ward 6 Bay St Louis Councilman Josh Desalvo at Tuesday’s Council meeting. That pretty much sums up the crux of the controversy with speculation running rampant that the reason Executive Director Thomas is acting out so is because she fears for her job. Meantime the clock is ticking per Dwayne’s story:

A few months ago, supervisors voted to opt out of the current agreement, saying — among other things — that the current agreement is out-dated and unfair to the county.

If a new deal is not reached by Sept. 30, the county would no longer provide funding for the library system.

The original inter-local agreement that created the library system is about 25 years old and does not include the city of Diamondhead and its library.

This gets me to Tuesday’s Council meeting. At an earlier Supervisor meeting both Councilmen Reed and Seal asked the Sups to reconsider opting out of the current library inter-local but that request to kick the can never stood a chance. The issue of Library over staffing has put a strain on the relationship between the last 2 Boards of Sups and the current library Board.  It has popped in and out of the news cycle for the last three years including Thomas closing the Diamondhead branch for a brief time before the last election, an act that from outward appearances was designed to show the Sups who was Boss and that gets me to this snippet on who contributes what to the current inter-local: Continue reading “Analysis | Definitive Account: “Supervisors finalize their end of new HCLS library agreement””

Why the FBI raid on Paul Manafort’s home has great significance

A prosecutor or litigant for that matter can issue a subpoena fairly easily and there no no real burden of proof beyond the information sought being germane to the proceedings.

Search Warrants OTOH require both a Judge’s OK and probable cause, which the folks at find law define for search warrant purposes:

Probable cause to search exists when facts and circumstances known to the officer provide the basis for a reasonable person to believe that a crime was committed at the place to be searched, or that evidence of a crime exists at the location.

Search warrants must specify the place to be searched, as well as items to be seized.

I have a pet theory about Vlad Putin’s puppets in the White House. Continue reading “Why the FBI raid on Paul Manafort’s home has great significance”

Personal finance: Am I the only one that sees a problem here?

It’s been on at least the last two meeting agendas and sure enough it made it back onto the agenda for tonight’s recessed Bay St Louis Council meeting:

08-09-17 Agenda - recessedWhy on God’s green earth would Councilman Zimmerman’s salary be a topic for discussion? I asked and the answer I got was disturbing on several different levels. It appears Zimmerman took early social security to help make ends meet and now doesn’t want to make too much money and jeopardize his new government check. My instant reaction was to wonder why he did not think about the ramifications of running for office when he qualified for the Ward 5 Council earlier this year.

Normally a politician not wanting to take a paycheck would be refreshing and it could have been for Zimmerman had he thought things through but it is clear he didn’t do that before running to the taxpayers for a solution to his personal financial problem with Social Security. It also carries implications about his financial acumen which, for a councilman in a “strong Mayor” town whose main job responsibilities are financial in nature, (Budget and annual audit) is a must in order to be effective.

I am asked about taking social security early frequently in the day job, in fact the interplay between taking early social security and planning for a steady retirement income stream is the number 1 question I am asked by my individual income tax clients. Since Mr. Zimmerman put his personal finances on display I’ll use the numbers he disclosed to illustrate a point that trying to game social security is a losers game.

First up is the income: Continue reading “Personal finance: Am I the only one that sees a problem here?”

Other Voices | Lana Noonan: Hancock County Budget Season Update

It’s difficult to tell where to begin when it comes to Budget Season with our local entities. The number crunching has begun, and the departmental wish lists are presenting major financial challenges for our local officials.

Let’s begin with the City of Bay St. Louis. The seven guys on the City Council are working hard to get their budget together for the upcoming fiscal year of 2017-2018.

One little kink in the wheel that must be resolved sooner rather than later is WHERE IS THE 2016 AUDIT??????? Kind of hard to formulate a budget until you examine your auditor’s candid verdict on your books of account for the past fiscal year. The Auditor, Bobby Culumber, is MIA. They had better find him pretty soon. I think the audit was due on June 30, 2017 which would have given the City Council ample time before budget workshops to identify and confront their monetary issues and prioritize them.

Moving right along, the issues that have been discussed at the last two budget workshops are:

1. Going out for bids on the city’s insurance which is due to renew in Feb. or March of 2018.

2. On this same subject, since Council does not approve benefits for part time employees, they should also remove themselves from this benefit. Their position does not require them to spend every day at City Hall. ALL OF OUR PUBLIC ENTITIES SHOULD ELIMINATE THIS FROM THEIR BUDGETS. THINK OF THE MONEY WE WOULD SAVE.

3. Supporting the continued presence of a Tourism Office in Hancock County and lending financial support. Councilman DeSalvo also wants to solicit support from the Downtown Merchants since they benefit the most from Tourism events such as Cruisin’ the Coast. Continue reading “Other Voices | Lana Noonan: Hancock County Budget Season Update”

ICYMI: Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Reverses Singing River Pension Settlement

The part the appellate panel at the 5th Circuit didn’t like involved how the attorney fees were paid out in relation to the financial risk assumed by the Singing River Pension retirees among other things. It goes back to Judge Guirola’s Courtroom per below:

Click to obtain full 29 page decision
Click to obtain full 29 page decision

TransportRoom Continue reading “ICYMI: Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Reverses Singing River Pension Settlement”

I’m afraid a very small group of people will be greatly disappointed and other Miscellany……

But that story isn’t to the point of development where we can share it just yet folks but indications are it will go something like this:

Next up is last week’s Bay-Waveland School Board meeting:

BWSD votes not to attend consolidation workshop ~ Cassandra Favre

Meantime up in Lamar County:

State Board of Education finalizes Lumberton schools’ consolidation ~ Ellen Ciurczak

The dynamics between Bay Waveland Schools and Lumberton are very different. Lumberton is a small community in a long term decline thus the declining student population. Bay St Louis in particular is a community whose population skews older due to its popularity as a retirement destination. Regardless what is now a three vote majority on the School Board wants no part of even discussing the possibility of administrative consolidation.

In other news there had to be a complete lack of internal controls over at Hancock Justice Court: Continue reading “I’m afraid a very small group of people will be greatly disappointed and other Miscellany……”

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: We’d Be Better Off If He Was a Drunk

Yeah, I’m talking about Trump, our president. At least if he was a drunk, there could be an intervention. He could get help. Get in a program. AA. Something. Unfortunately, he’s stone cold sober. We’re seeing Trump at the top of his game. This is who he is. We’re on notice. How much more do we need to know?

All the adjectives describing Trump have been used. I don’t have any to add. I do, however, have a few to describe our situation here in the USA and in the world. Dire. Dangerous. Deadly Serious. Unsustainable.

Hand wringing time is over. He has to be removed by the constitutional process sooner rather than later. Preferably, no later than six months from now.

I remember when I was involved with a rag tag group pushing for the impeachment of Richard Nixon. When things looked bleak and it looked like Nixon was going to get away with it we’d sit around and bitch and moan. There was a young Jewish girl who would always chime in and say “OK, path forward?”

She made us recognize how ridiculous it was to do nothing when there was an opportunity to do something and advance the ball down the field, even if only by baby steps. Continue Reading…...