First of all, a Happy New Year to all–hope your holidays were all you wanted them to be and the New Year will be successful for you. This year will be a year of “elections” or “decisions” if you will. Waveland will hold their municipal elections in the Fall, and if that seems far off, just wait. It will be here before you know it. Certainly the announcements and campaigning will be here soon. The Alliance will sponsor a political forum as we do for all the elections, so stay tuned if you are a candidate or simply a voter.
Events that have unfolded since the Bay St. Louis officials took the oath of office last July indicate that the Bay City Council needs to “elect” to see that their city’s bills get paid whether or not the Mayor does. They may have to “take the checkbook” away from him if need be. This is, of course, a figure of speech, but they do have the legal responsibility for seeing that the bills are paid, which could be to refuse to approve any more dockets until he pays the Solid Waste and Hancock County Utility Authorities what the city owes them. After all, these folks have dockets to pay as well. And using the excuse that they fell behind because they didn’t charge enough for utilities is ridiculous. That’s not the fault of the Utility Authorities. By the way, what happened to the $500,000 line of credit that was supposed to cover these utility bills? And, most importantly, what is the administration doing with the money the users are sending to city hall to pay these bills? The city does’t own any garbage trucks or employ any garbage workers. So what makes them think they can keep funds for a service they not only do not, but cannot perform? Amazing. Who knows what the list of delinquent bills looks like? Now we are hearing that Lowe’s has cut the city off for non payment; and heard it from RELIABLE sources.
In the state of Mississippi the efforts of some public officials to exclude the taxpayers from their deliberations on the expenditure of public funds has reached epidemic proportions. The sad thing is that the weak laws in this state don’t offer much relief for the taxpaying public.
In one day we get to observe a state official, State Auditor Stacey Pickering, and his staff admit under oath their efforts to hide information not only from the public, but from a Judge.
Then the Bay St. Louis Mayor and City Council call a “special” meeting to finalize the purchase of a new fire truck that will come in at slightly over $500,000. The notice of the meeting went out the morning of the meeting. This doesn’t give John Q. Public much chance to make arrangements to listen or participate in the discussion of the purchase of this equipment with our hard earned tax dollars.
I’ve been having some technical difficulties but finally knocked those out yesterday afternoon. I’ve also spent some time lately improving technical back office issues here at Slabbed including a better security perimeter as Slabbed has been subject to at least one denial of service attack in the past 6 weeks. The streets of information dissemination aka the news biz are mean indeed.
That has worked out OK though since the local news cycle has been slow but today the dam has broken and we have links galore. In the interest of time I’ll do this in one post so let’s start with Margie Seemann of the Jefferson Parish Citizens for Good Government. Margie, her sister and the gang at CFGG are true public servants and today the issues with campaign finance so often highlighted by CFGG go front and center in the NOLA.com series Louisiana Purchased. Let’s start with a video interview of Margie:
Hiring unqualified good ol boys to government jobs in Mississippi is nothing new as we’ve been reminded of late of that fact with DMR among other agencies but for a local plum appointment to go to an outsider in Hancock County is unheard of, especially when the board doing the appointing answers to the County Board of Supervisors. Yes, of late local politics has made for strange bedfellows with Supervisor Steve Seymour crossing party lines to cuddle up with Lynn Fitch over at Scott Walker’s house last year but plucking a Phil Bryant staffer for a $150,000 job that could (some would say should) go to someone with the Ladner surname? OMG!!!
“The defense counsel failed to argue that he (Ladner) had tried to quit the county prior to renting his equipment to various vendors,” according to the motion. “The county authorities wouldn’t let him and told him to go ahead and rent it out to people involved in the cleanup and it would all be just fine. The defense counsel failed to bring up the fact that the county attorney was the one who drafted the letter that the defendant signed telling FEMA he had no interest in the companies of his brothers. The truth is, the only thing the defendant did do was rent equipment to contractors that needed it. His supervisors told him to do it and that it would all be good. These are clearly mitigating factors that needed to be brought before the court that were not.”
The major problem I see is Roger Ladner is bringing this up wayyyyy too late. File this one under strung along and hung out to dry.
For those of you that have not been reading the commentary on the post on curious Harrison County property tax assessments, I highly recommend it as the community ties in the Utility Authority and the dreaded A word “Auditing”, something our own State Auditor no longer does much of.
Speaking of this I hope the lesson being offered here is not lost as the voodoo we do at Slabbed New Media is replicated across a myriad of topics, be it corruption at the highest levels of Jefferson Parish Government, here on the coast or a certain case involving a majorly well hung Tranny in Orange County Florida. Lest I digress. 😉
These Utility Authority deals cut across the entire expanse of the coast and may prove fertile ground for prosecution as the reasons the FBI have been visiting the local courthouses and annexes comes into much sharper focus.
I understand the court hearing is on Thursday here in Hancock County (Parish) April 16th in Judge Persons courtroom at the Harrison County Courthouse. I do not see this suit going far. I’ll add these public accommodations will greatly enhance the public beach that is already there adjacent to the legion’s property and improve sanitation. You good folks reading Slabbed from NOLA that visit the beaches here will immediately notice the dramatic improvement. See y’all soon.
The first story is still in its original form while the second was updated. It is unclear who the 22 residents are who filed suit against the Hancock County Board of Supervisors using the services of Goatherder lawyer Henry Laird as neither story mentions them and it may well be none ultimately have any standing to sue but Harris updated her story with comments from the property owner, American Legion Post 139, which is the exact context I heard about this budding controversy originally. Specifically:
The county has leased the property from American Legion Post 139 for 25 years, but the lease expired in November, post Commander Clayton Thompson said. Board attorney Ronnie Artigues said supervisors have been in negotiations to buy the property.
The board will meet Monday to discuss renewing the lease monthly until the property can be purchased, he said.
So the county constructs bathrooms on property it did not have any legal rights to and for some inexplicable reason did not bother to renew the lease on the property, which expired last November electing to break ground instead. Ignorant does not quite do the actions of the Board of Supervisors justice in this circumstance but earlier this month Bay Waveland School Board President Sherry Ponder attempted to swear in a school board member that had not yet been been appointed to the school board by the City. Sources indicate to Slabbed Ponder lashed out at the Alliance for Good Government member that pointed this out in the school board meeting which makes one wonder exactly which local government is more clueless, the School Board or the Board of Supervisors.
OTOH not much good law gets practiced when a Goatherder is involved so this one has FUBAR potential written all over it so it is worth keeping an eye on. This is about more than just building flood mitigated bathrooms IMHO.
This will not be perceived as good news in certain political circles as it appears Roger Ladner is officially off the reservation as he, his wife and two bros have taken a plea deal in what I’ll term a very smart move. Time to pop some popcorn as the local rumor mill will likely kick into overdrive.