Leslie’s law: Senator Harkins helps clean up Good Ol’ Boy politics in “Strong Mayor” towns

And why are we calling HB 51 Leslie’s law? Mainly because it cleaned up a questionable AG’s opinion that involved the City of Bay St Louis and its unqualified perpetually interim crony Chief Building Inspector Charles Oliver. Kingfish at Jackson Jambalaya has been all over this issue for two years now and his post yesterday on the topic is a must read for everyone in the Bay. The citizens in “Strong Mayor” Chartered towns throughout Mississippi owe Senator Harkins an Atta Boy for seeing this good government measure through the legislature to the Governor’s desk. Here is a snippet from Kingfish’s post:

The first challenge to this law took place in Bay St. Louis, where good ole boy politics reigns supreme. The Mayor fired the building inspector seven years ago and appointed a close friend who was not qualified to the job on an interim basis. He has never been confirmed by the city council and is not a certified building inspector. Such things mean nothing to Mayor Fillingame. Interim means eternal as far as he is concerned. The city council challenged his employment after the law became effective on July 1, 2016. However, Mayor Fillingame and city attorney Donald Rafferty went running to Jim Hood for some cover and he gave it to them. Earlier post with copy of opinion.

I’d posit this is also very bad news for Mayor Fillingame’s latest scheme involving the Bay Waveland School Board as he has failed to make an appointment to fill Maurice Singleton’s seat on the Board of Trustees. Singleton’s term expired in February and Fillingame has steadfastly refused to make a school board appointment to fill the seat, instead arguing that Singleton, who appears to be cooperative in the Mayor’s scheme, is now a 180 day interim appointment. With the State Auditor’s office now empowered to enforce financial penalties associated with this kind of abuse, it will be interesting to see if Singleton continues his role as the Mayor’s lap dog. Stay tuned.

Houston we have a problem Part 2: Councilman Compretta refuses to acknowledge massive problems in the Bay St Louis Building Department

Whether it is commercial buildings constructed over property lines, average citizens getting the run around or building department employees being used to harass the Mayor’s Critics the problems with having unqualified mayoral cronies instead of professionals in Building and Code enforcement are pretty well documented. Last month with the Council considering privatizing the building Department, the Mayor mustered the support of some favored contractors to speak in favor of the status quo as well as give his council ally Bobby Compretta some cover to make a fool of himself:

Otis Bounds said he agreed with Carrigee, but said the city needs to “upgrade our building department and put some knowledgeable people in there.” Bounds referenced Carrigee’s tenure in the building department and said even though he didn’t always agree with Carrigee’s answers, Bounds said he knew Carrigee was “always right.”

“If I get an answer now, you better go look it up because it’s probably wrong,” he said. “Either upgrade the building department or keep the bunch you got off the beach.”

Ron Thorp said he was at the meeting where the city of Waveland voted to privatize its building department.

Thorp said the aldermen were pleased with the privatization of the building department because they said it eliminated the phone calls, took the pressure off of them and took the politics out of the building department.

“It saved the city a lot of money,” Thorp said. “If you heard all the people that came up here, the one thing they said is,’if you’re going to privatize it, have someone that is good.’ So we can save money, have it privatized and have a good person in there.”

Councilman Bobby Compretta said, from what he’s heard, he doesn’t think the council needs to fix anything that’s not broken.

That workshop had a little something for everyone including Councilman Seal again showing his zeal to raise everyone’s taxes but it was Compretta’s attempt to spin the dysfunction in the building department that was most pathetic IMHO as he is a realtor and should know better than most. Continue reading “Houston we have a problem Part 2: Councilman Compretta refuses to acknowledge massive problems in the Bay St Louis Building Department”

Hizzoner says his friend isn’t going anywhere, a Cruisin’ DUI Arrest Update

Bay St Louis Building Official Charles Oliver Mugger
Bay St Louis Building Official Charles Oliver Mugger

Geoff Belcher nabbed some comments from Mayor Fillingame and the Sheriff on the arrest of Bay Building Official Charles Oliver for the Seacoast Echo.

Mayor: Arrest won’t affect Bay building official’s employment ~ Geoff Belcher

Adam said there had been rumor’s that Oliver was given “special” treatment since he is a city official.
“In every case, a judge can call up and approve an O.R. bond,” Adam said. “Every case is different. He didn’t get any special treatment.”

Remember folks, if you want to avoid paying a cash bond, complain of chest pains while at the hospital during the execution of the blood warrant.

Now back to the Bay finances. I remember an employee health insurance line on the budget. Would the county have to pay a DUI perpetrator’s medical bills after an accident solely because the perpetrator was arrested for the DUI? Something doesn’t quite seem right about the explanations being offered but it sure was nice of the Sheriff to give the Mayor courtesy after he called the Sheriff asking for Oliver’s release without a cash bond, especially since he’s having to take some flak for it now.

After I get past the deadlines I’m facing I think I’ll try to get up with MADD to get their take on this. Stay tuned.

Questions raised about preferential treatment of Bay City Official booked with DUI after accident with injury

Last night after the battle for the Crab trap the bat line began ringing off the hook here at the mobile offices of Slabbed New Media saying there was a multi-car accident with injury on Highway 90 at Washington Street and controversial Bay St Louis Building Official Charles Oliver not only caused the accident but was also arrested for DUI by the Hancock County Sheriff. Let’s begin Slabbed’s coverage with the Seacoast Echo:

“I’m afraid (the Steamer mishap) was just the tip of the iceberg,” Bay St. Louis architect Michael Reeves said recently.

Reeves said there are several other projects in the area that he believes aren’t quite up to national building codes, particularly for handicapped accessibility.

He said he fears that the flurry of building activity, combined with a limited pool of inspectors with the proper safety training and knowledge, is a recipe for disaster. Despite Reeves’ concerns, that won’t be the case in Bay St. Louis, Bay Building Official Charles Oliver said Friday.

“We believe in safety first,” Oliver said. He pointed to Tripletails Bar & Grill as an example.

Anyone that read that particular piece of propaganda from our state sponsored newspaper of record would certain see the irony as newly constructed non ADA compliant commercial structures have popped up from time to time in Bay St Louis under Oliver’s tenure as the unlicensed chief of the Bay St Louis building department. While he can’t pass the test to get the credential he is a long time friend of Bay St Louis Mayor Les Fillingame and that is meaningful here in Bay St Louis. How about we take a second stab at the DUI arrest:

In other words, Oliver said, “Whatever you have sticking out, you have to have sticking in. The code says you have to have 50 percent of the length of the exterior sticking in. Here, he’s got 70 percent sticking in.

Folks I apologize I can’t seem to get these Seacoast Echo links to work this morning. Luckily I have a video of Mr. Oliver in handcuffs doing the perp walk leaving the hospital after he had blood drawn:

Police: Bay St. Louis building official Oliver arrested on DUI charge ~ Wes Muller Continue reading “Questions raised about preferential treatment of Bay City Official booked with DUI after accident with injury”