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.
Want to bring up new business to the Bay St Louis Council and not be on the meeting agenda? No problemo you just do it and the doormats on the City Council invariably seem to go along. This is how you end up with an audit presentation happening at a Council workshop when an “audit update” morphs into a full blown audit presentation. It is slated to happen again tonight with the Mayor telling WLOX he’ll be bringing his pick to be chief of police to the City Council. Funny thing is that item of business is not listed on the agenda emailed out by City Council Clerk Tilley.
The first round of public comments are limited to agenda items only and since a new Police Chief is not on the agenda the Council will not hear from the public before they rubber stamp the Mayor’s choice. Worse though is the City Council spent around $10,000 on a performance audit which included the Office of the State Auditor telling the Council they should not take action on any item not on their agenda, noting the Council in the past frequently engaged in this highly questionable practice. Continue reading “Old bad habits live on in a Place Apart”
Of the last four City Clerks only one had the kind of professionalism and personal integrity to follow financial portions of the Mississippi Code while the other three sold their professional reputations for a paycheck. Unfortunately Clerk Gonzales falls in with the majority in my opinion and it was a rather simple, somewhat innocuous looking agenda item in 3(g) that attracted my attention before last Tuesday’s meeting:
The reason the proposal to set up an Unemployment Compensation Revolving Fund within the Municipal Reserve Bank Account attracted my attention is the obvious co-mingling of dedicated funds, a major no no the council should have learned by now.
That said there were at least three City Councilmen, lead by Councilman Doug Seal, that evidently retained none of the training given them by the Office of the State Auditor’s Performance Audit division in favor of railing about there being too many bank accounts (itself a confusion between the terms “fund” and “bank account”). That said, after a member of the audience repeatedly mentioned to City Attorney Trent Favre the money needed to be separated into its own fund, were questions asked by Councilman Boudin. The council ended up telling Gonzales keep the funds separate. Continue reading “Bay St Louis City Council meeting recap: City Clerk Gonzales tries her hand at hoodwinking the City Council”
As a young auditor I learned very quickly that one thing governing boards dislike more than anything else is “Emergency” special called meetings. Along those lines we get a flavor from Cassandra Favre’s article on yesterday’s Bay Council emergency meeting that the Council was not very happy and for good reason. To set things up Cruising the Coast is in full swing with the Old Town section of the City jam packed with classic cars and people. If there is such a thing as a good time to call a City Council meeting, the Thursday – Saturday stretch of Cruising the Coast would be off limits yet that is exactly what the Mayor asked the Council to do, three days after a regular meeting, so the City could make its next payroll. The meeting was not streamed by Jerry Beaugez of Mayor Fillingame’s Administration as neither attended the meeting which the Mayor asked to be called. The lack of a live stream and the conspicuous absences appears to be an exercise in trying to hide the fact the City does not have enough of a general fund balance to make its first payroll of the fiscal year. Here is a snippet:
“You’re – in essence – healthy,” Bobby Culumber, of Gulfport-based CPA firm Culumber, Harvey & Associates, told council members at a workshop meeting on Thursday.
First off I did not take a poll but WLOX (Hugh Keeton if I’m not mistaken), The Sun Herald and the Sea Coast Echo were all in attendance or watching one of the various the live streams. It was a marathon meeting and I’ll start with the later portion of the meeting before I left around 8pm, two and a half hours in and the August bill from the former City Attorney:
Anyone that has witnessed the early performances of the new City Attorney understands exactly why the City Council made the change. As an added bonus, the Citizens are finally getting value for their money in legal.
Several residents spoke out against Anita Warner’s application for a variance to the zoning ordinance in order to construct a six-foot aluminum fence on her front yard property line fronting on Third Street and Caron Lane and extend it to the side yards. The Planning and Zoning Commission denied the recommendation that the fence be aluminum and have a 10-foot set back. Many residents said they didn’t want the fence or greenery there because it would obstruct people’s vision. Warner attended the meeting and presented the city with photographs indicating similar fencing surrounding her residence. Ellis Anderson, a representative from the Historic Preservation Commission, told the board, after Warner and others had left the meeting. Two weeks ago, they voted down her request. Her choice was to appeal to the city, which Warner did, and the council sent her request to planning and zoning. The council granted the variance with the stipulation that the six-foot fence be constructed out of aluminum made to look like wrought iron, no obstructions in the right of way and a 20-foot set back on the corner and regular setbacks on the front and side, which is 20 feet.
I’ve been to or saw the live stream of at least three Council meetings over the course of the summer where one or more City Councilmen explicitly warned the Mayor to not use the former City Attorney’s services after his contract expired on July 31, 2016 as the Council would not approve it for payment. And of course what does the Mayor do? If you guessed he uses the services of the former City Attorney you’d be a winner!
I’m writing this post specifically for one group of people, Bay St Louis City employees that knew what was going on and decided to go along to get along in order to keep their jobs. “I was only following orders” is not a legal defense. Knowing of the commission of a crime and doing nothing is itself a felony.
As a matter of editorial policy, Slabbed New Media is calling for the immediate prosecution of any and all Bay St Louis City Employees that had knowledge of, or any involvement in the payroll fraud alleged by Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam.
What we have here folks is a recurring theme in the human condition when someone without a moral compass leads others astray, dirtying them up in the process. It’s deadly serious now and today the Sea Coast Echo has blown things wide open with some of their finest reporting in quite some time but first guess who is not dead after all? That’s right folks, Chief Denardo’s Mother. And who was it that told the world that Denardo was reeling from his mother’s death? Bay St Louis’ Dishonorable Hizzoner, Les Fillingame:
Asked about possible reasons the chief may have taken his life, he said De Nardo had been “reeling from the death of his mother,” was in a state of personal grief.
Interesting as this was in today’s Sea Coast Echo:
The rumor mill has been going full tilt since Chief Denardo’s suicide about this time yesterday. None of the rumors have been 100% correct but I have spoken with two people outside of City government that were close to the Chief along with a number of off record interviews I will not go into but this much we do know now officially, that the ATF had received “unsubstantiated criminal intelligence” about the Chief but had not opened a formal investigation when the Chief tragically took his own life. Kevin McGill and Rebecca Santana have the skinny for the AP:
“ATF had not opened a formal investigation but had received to this point unsubstantiated criminal intelligence regarding the chief’s activities,” Denham said.
“We had not approached him. We had not confronted him.”
He said barring DeNardo’s death, the agency would have moved forward to investigate and confirm or dispel the intelligence. He could not give details on what the intelligence was about.
Slabbed has been told a bit more about the subject matter but it has not been officially confirmed. I will say this, the ethical tone for an entity is set at the top. Auditors are taught that time and again, if the CEO is unethical then they will have lots of company in their organization. At DMR we saw that exact scenario in the story Slabbed broke about the brother in law contracting in the artificial reef program. This concept will again manifest itself in the Bay. I will disclose this, indications strongly are that the Chief is not alone in terms of potential wrongdoing as other current and/or former employees have also been implicated to the ATF and as the facts bubble up, its likely the Bay will be shaken to its core. There is no way to candy coat it folks.