Bay 2017 Primary Elections Part 2: Rachael Ramsey, Kingmaker

All you gotta do is look at the numbers to see that those who voted for Rachael Ramsey have the power to make the biggest difference in the coming Mayoral runoff election.

Conventional wisdom would hold that Hizzoner, being an incumbent and a known quantity, reached his maximum potential vote share last Tuesday night. The key in a runoff is continued turnout for those that voted the first time around plus maybe expanding the electorate with those that didn’t bother going to the polls in the primary.

Ms. Ramsey’s endorsement could well be the difference in two weeks thus all eyes are on the former Candidate.

How the Fillingame Machine Manipulates Elections…. (Updated 2X)

This morning, Lana Noonan of the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government nabbed the following work notes from County Enforcement Officer Tommy Kidd, which are attached to the minutes of Hancock County Solid Waste Authority. The promise of a job was evidently enough to get former Ward 6 GOP candidate Hunter Adam to drop out of the Ward 6 GOP race, clearing the field for Josh Desalvo in his challenge against Ward 6 incumbent Councilman Lonnie Falgout:

Source: Minutes of the Hancock County Solid Waste Authority
Source: Minutes of the Hancock County Solid Waste Authority

File this one under your county tax dollars at work for Hizzoner.

Update: Since this post was first published Lana Noonan of the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government made another trip to the solid waste authority to examine the County Enforcement Officer’s work logs. You wonder what was going through the minds of those that sit on the authority’s Board approving payment for attending Christmas parties and a Bay City Council meeting on the future of the Bay PD. Is Waveland Alderman Jeremy Burke an active member of the solid waste authority’s board or just a waste taking up space there? Same goes for Waveland Mayor Mike Smith. You gotta wonder exactly what those guys were thinking. Continue reading “How the Fillingame Machine Manipulates Elections…. (Updated 2X)”

Bay 2017 Primary Elections Part 1: Interesting Numbers

I put together a spreadsheet with the Mayoral vote totals broken down by votes cast in person and the absentee ballots. Then I calculated “common size” vote shares.

BSL Democrat Primary Mayoral Vote[5.2.17]

What are the chances the absentees would so radically diverge from the in person results?

Additional background here.

PSA: Bay St Louis Primary Election Polling Places

Polls open at 7 a.m. tomorrow and close at 7 p.m.

In Bay St. Louis, there are six polling places:

• Ward One: Bay High School, 750 Blue Meadow Road.
• Ward Two: The Bay St. Louis Library, 312 Highway 90.
• Ward Three: The Senior Citizen’s center at 601 Bookter Street.
• Ward Four: Christ Episcopal Church 912 South Beach Blvd.
• Ward Five: The American Legion at 645 Green Meadow Road.
• Ward Six: The Bay St. Louis Fire Station at 9998, Highway 603.

(H/T Mayor Rachael on Facebook)

Hizzoner under Investigation: The Misdemeanors that simply won’t go away

And last night Wes Muller dropped the latest from Sheriff Ricky Adam:

Did more than 700 improper checks come from Bay St. Louis City Hall?

You betcha they did as this also implicates a couple of former City Clerks. As Wes points out in the story none of this is exactly new information having been pointed out in the 2014 Fiscal year audit and the State Auditor’s Office Performance Review of same. Hizzoner of course is having none of it and pretty much says the seasoned professionals at both Wright Ward Hatten & Guel and the performance audit division of the State Auditor’s Office are full of it.

Nevertheless, the mayor said the fact the auditor’s office disputed itself on one issue puts everything else into question.

When asked why the investigation is expanding if he has proof no checks were improperly issued, the mayor said it’s possible the sheriff and his investigators favor his opponent.

The State Auditor changing the draft of their Performance review is hardly contradictory and such is why a draft is a called draft. Getting it right before a final report is issued is usually known as professionalism in locales other than A Place Apart, a concept that has been missing from the financial side of City Hall for many years. In any event this is what the State Auditor had to say about problems in the claims payable process since Hizzoner brought it up: Continue reading “Hizzoner under Investigation: The Misdemeanors that simply won’t go away”

A few thoughts on the Hancock Alliance for Good Government Municipal Candidate Forum

For those following along last night Slabbed put out two pictures but little else live as I was on the media panel that asked the questions.

After the forum an audience member asked where the panel got its questions which I thought was odd, my instant answer pointing to my brain was “from here”. Turned out he was upset because he thought we were picking on a candidate he supports. The operative term here is more colloquially known as a “closed mind”.

Wes Muller from the Sun Herald and Brad Kessie from WLOX rounded out the panel and we didn’t toss out any softies to either the Mayoral or the council candidates for office. Speaking for myself I asked questions that would help the candidates differentiate themselves, from the allocation of scarce tax dollars in the city budget to whether or not tax increases were on the table to deal with the current revenue challenged times derived mainly from declining gaming revenue. There was no such thing as a wrong answer to these questions and overall the candidates for office did a good job responding to the questions, including Hizzoner.

The panel also asked questions designed to find out if the Candidates knew what they were getting into in terms of the office they were seeking. Those questions also got very good responses and the candidates again differentiated themselves. Without going into the he said, she said specifics I’ll add WQRZ was there last night to record the event and it will be streamed on Saturday. I highly encourage those of you that did not attend last night to listen in Saturday.

Several people in attendance commented to me on what was evidently a pretty sharp contrast between the Republican-Democrat-NAACP Forum the night before which was promoted by a new, proxy registered, anonymous website BSL Beyond Politics and last night’s event, which focused heavily on financial questions. Wes Muller was at both and his story on the Republican-Democrat-NAACP Forum tells the tale: Continue reading “A few thoughts on the Hancock Alliance for Good Government Municipal Candidate Forum”

Unfinished Business: “Elephants never forget”

Slabbed is the current beneficiary of some good old fashioned elbow grease that is being applied to certain issues from the past. Those various tidbits from the past should make for a fun election season.

One fact that has been established with the help of Lana Noonan of the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government is the Administration was capable of running legal advertisements as she found an instance where the Water and Sewer Refunding Bonds were advertised by then City Clerk David Kolf back in 2014. Tuesday night Mayor Fillingame took the microphone to dispute the State Auditor’s Office Performance Review which first documented his refusal to discharge the duties of his office while instead blaming the City Council clerk for his Administration’s ineptitude in failing to publish the Zoning Ordnance as required by state law. Such a performance by Hizzoner can only mean the silly season is on in a big way.

So to set up tomorrow’s post what we need to do is circle back in time to the release of the FY 2014 audit with its multitude of major internal control and compliance findings. I put that link in the preceding sentence out on Twitter early this week and it garnered a good reader response. Those that remember those particular times in 2015 understand that part of Hizzoner defending his administration against terrible audit results included him saying the audit findings were bogus including one that involved the City’s property insurance lapsing during Hurricane Season. Slabbed was Johnny on the Spot to debunk the dishonorable Hizzoner’s media talking points and the rest is history…..well not quite as it turned out and that is fodder for the next post. Stay tuned.

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.

Senior Fillingame Administration Official “feeling delighted” about potential cancellation of Hancock Library millage

Think about the kind of city you want and vote for the person who will lead you there. ~ Liz Zimmerman

I always thought the difference between living in a City or in the country boiled down to a quality of life calculus. For City dwellers, having a local library is a generally part of the quality of life equation.

Screenshot_20170326-122633

Maybe we’re math challenged but removal of the County millage would reduce the average property tax bill no where near $60 per that breakdown nor can we see how the small library millage added to Bay St Louis taxes would bump the total to $60. In any event the name of the local tax collector was invoked: Continue reading “Senior Fillingame Administration Official “feeling delighted” about potential cancellation of Hancock Library millage”

Another Stunning Display of Ineptitude by the Fillingame Administration……..

Tuesday night’s City Council meeting was a doozie and that does not count this:

Lawyer’s discovery stuns Bay St. Louis officials ~ Wes Muller

Bay St. Louis attorney Stephen Benvenutti told the council the city’s comprehensive zoning ordinance was never published, as required by law, when it was adopted by the previous City Council in 2010.

Municipalities are legally required to publish zoning change proposals and other significant measures in the municipality’s local newspaper within 30 days of a council’s vote. The newspaper of record for municipalities in Hancock County is the Sea Coast Echo.

The display of ineptitude inherent to not following simple, statutorily mandated tasks such as keeping a codified book of municipal ordinances and publishing them after Council adoption by Mayor Fillingame and his appointees is stunning, though not surprising. The fact is this problem was identified in 2015 by the FY 2014 auditors at Wright Ward Hatten and Guel. Here is what the state auditor wrote in their Performance Review of that audit:

You’re – in essence – healthy,” Bobby Culumber, of Gulfport-based CPA firm Culumber, Harvey & Associates, told council members at a workshop meeting on Thursday.

Ooops sorry folks wrong auditor. Here is what the State Auditor Performance Review said about Fillingame Administration problems handling ordinances:

PerRevBSL_Ord

It’s clear from the State Auditor’s language Mayor Fillingame was Continue reading “Another Stunning Display of Ineptitude by the Fillingame Administration……..”