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Pass Christian Board of Alderman Severs Ties with Pass Christian Main Street

by Calvin Ishee

After coming out of a lengthy Executive Session, City Attorney Malcolm Jones announced that the Board had voted to end it’s financial relationship with Pass Christian Main Street.  Further, Jones stated that the Board had also voted to retroactively pay PC Main Street $1,250 per month, for October and December 2018 and January through September 2019.

Ward 3 Alderman Anthony Hall commented that “it wasn’t personal” and even commended PC Main Street Event Coordinator Mary-Catherine Scriber for her tremendous work with the organization.  Hall expressed in his view, “Main Street should be self sufficient and operate without the City’s financial help”.  Pass Mayor Leo “Chipper” McDermott validated that beginning October 1st, 2019, the City would no longer have any official relationship with PC Main Street and that they would have to operate on their own.

These issues came up as the result of PC Main Street submitting it’s annual agreement for ratification, as well as because of potential litigation from the Main Street Foundation. According to several sources, it appears that PC Main Street has been in turmoil for quite some time. In fact, one prominent PC Board member recently resigned from this organization and another told me, as well as others that he is planning to resign.

The Gazebo Gazette has been working on a story about this organization for close to six months however, information has not been forthcoming. The paper will continue it’s efforts to obtain additional information regarding this matter and will report it’s findings in a future edition.

After another Executive Session, City Attorney Jones stunned the audience by announcing the Board’s acceptance of PC Police Chief Tim Hendricks resignation, effective June 27th, 2019. Chief Hendricks served the City honorably for approximately four years.   Until the position is advertised, Deputy Police Chief Daren Freeman will be the Acting Police Chief. No reason was given by the City for Chief Hendricks resignation.

The Board unanimously approved Nicaud Foods request to conduct an Independence Day Parade with a band at Bacchus on the Beach, July 4th 2019.  The request also included police assistance for safety and traffic control. The parade will include children’s bikes, golf carts, dogs and antique cars.

Of interest to at least one Board member, Alderman Hall were four ratification action requests.  A ratification as defined by Webster’s dictionary states, “is a principals approval of an act of its agent that lacked the authority to bind the principle legally”.  In other words, it’s taxpayer money being spent without proper approval and then seeking approval after the fact. Although ratification actions are typically reserved for emergencies, two of the four ratification actions involved non-emergency issues. The use of ratification actions for non-emergency matters usurps the Boards authority to pre-approve expenditures instead of doing it after the fact.

During a robust Public Comments portion of the meeting, Pass Christian Jazz in the Pass Chair Joe Piernas asked the City to allow him to place the portable stage on the sidewalk, if not on the road. Due to a previous accident involving a driver running into the stage when it was placed in the road, the City has prohibited the use of the sidewalk and/or road for portable stages. Piernas contends that placing the stage inside Memorial Park, makes it too close to the large tent that provides concert goers much needed shade during the event.

Mayor McDermott stated that he would personally meet with Piernas at the proposed location before the event and make a decision on his request.

Other public comments included Ward 4 Alderwoman Regina Charlot’s praise for Pass Christian High Schools highly successful graduation, that included 54% of the graduating class being designated as Honor Students.

The next PC BOA meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 4th, 6 p.m. at the PC Municipal Court Room. Also note that the long awaited Public Hearing on short term rentals will be held next Tuesday, May 28th, 6 p.m. also at the PC Municipal Court Room.

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