I just had a conversation with a source that I will describe as not a politician or member of the investigative community but who possesses specialized knowledge of the operations of the Barbour Administration. Biloxi Blues has come very close to nailing it in comments twice now:
I had to laugh at the remarks of one of the assembled defense attorneys, who made my acquaintance today telling me how much he enjoyed my Louisiana coverage. The assembled media included Warren Kulo, Ruth Ingram, Doug Walker, Jeff Amy and Anita Lee plus one blogger.
Ironically the session started off with what was billed as a quick true up hearing for a civil case that quite frankly caught my interest as much as the Janus plea hearing. Judge Starrett knows his damages including exhibiting some specialized knowledge of the sand and gravel business that was quite impressive. I’ll leave the inside chatter on the inside but Judge Starrett continued the hearing because the numbers did not make sense to him. I followed the lawyer out of the courtroom with my business card (day job) in case the Plaintiffs decided to reach out for some help. Damages I know.
Lest I digress there are three points I want to make but before I make them we need to visit with the best two accounts of the hearing in no particular order:
That House Bill 44 has cleared some very important procedural hurdles and remains very much alive, now assigned to the House Judiciary committee. On the not so good news front it appears Representative Richard Bennett of Long Beach may have snookered the Sun Herald last month. I mention this because in January the paper ran a story about Bennett working with Auditor Pickering to insure every state agency is audited. Heck, they even did an editorial on it. I know I’ve been checking periodically to see how Bennett’s legislation is doing and everytime I go to his legislative web page this is what I see on that issue:
That’s right folks, it appears Bennett was blowing smoke up Stan Tiner’s hiney which is likely why we got this OpEd today:
Meantime the Byrd is still the word. Margaret Baker uses Alabama changing its retirement statute to exclude certain felons as the example in her story on soon to be former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd being able to collect his PERS retirement benefits despite copping to a felony. Slabbed lifers well remember it was the former Dragon Queen Aaron BrousStar that caused Louisiana to pass such a statute back in 2011.
D’IBERVILLE — City officials expected Ocean Expo Aquarium to be built and open by now and ticket prices to cover the cost of repaying the bond to purchase the land.
Instead the city may have to make the initial $318,668 payment — due in September — out of the general fund.
A visit to EMMA has been scheduled to do some digging into the official statement.
Additional Ocean Expo:
Can anyone provide information on the contract for site work at the Ocean Expo site?
IMMS solicited bids for “site preparation Phase 1″; the Daily Journal Of Commerce Gulf Coast (see page 17) reported that a local firm by the name of SH Anthony was among the plan holders. Bids were due on August 9, 2012. Was a contract let? Or was this the work that Harrison County did? (See Sun Herald article).
First things first folks as the audit submission is late (it was due on June 30, 2013) and that gives a clue as to the state of the finance department at the City. Good, clean records are easy to audit and those entities with good, clean records typically are not late with audit submissions. In fact, my experience has been that auditees with good, clean records typically have their audits wrapped up 3 to 4 months after the fiscal year end. In the private sector 3 months after Fiscal year end is typically considered timely for audit completion by way of comparison.
The second thing is Mary’s report quotes the CPA firm representative as saying the firm’s opinion was unqualified which in turn is a “clean, good opinion”. My question is which opinion because there are something like 4 or 5 auditor opinion letters contained in a single audit and from the sound of things the City of D’Iberville’s operations are anything but “clean” and “good” as there is double dealing galore there beginning with DMR but not ending there as internal controls over grants and contracts appear nonexistent along with gaping holes in the cash disbursement processes. That much was clear from Mary’s report and there is nothing good or clean about that.
I mention this because of the Land Trust Board members that are reaching out in response to the criticisms directed to the organization on these pages. The power of the medium lies not in the ability to ostracize, though I suspect those on the receiving end of the criticisms would beg to differ. That said, it is the ability to help guide decision makers as a reflection of public opinion and a wealth of community expertise is where the true power of the Internet medium is derived.