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Pass Christian Board Fails to Override Mayor’s Veto

by Calvin Ishee

After coming out of a lengthy Executive Session, in a vote of 2-3 the Board failed to override Mayor Leo “Chipper” McDermott’s veto of the Board’s disciplinary action against City Clerk Marion Governor. In a follow up vote to accept the Mayor’s counteroffer that reduced the suspension time but added restitution by the employee, the measure passed 3-2. Ward 3 Alderman Anthony Hall and Ward 2 Alderwoman Regina Charlot were the only Board members that voted to overturn the veto and against the Mayor’s counteroffer.

Ward 3 Anthony Hall expressed his deep disappointment in the Board’s failure to overturn the Mayor’s veto.  Hall stated, “the Mayor used his right to veto and I used my right to try and overturn his veto. The Board’s initial vote was the right one and was consistent with previous disciplinary actions.  It’s nothing personal but I believe the Board took the appropriate disciplinary action against a sitting Department Head. I believe this is the Mayor playing politics. Having said that, the Board has spoken and it’s time to move on.”

Mayor McDermott responded with, “if Anthony Hall thinks it’s just politics, then he should come out of Ward 3 and run for Mayor.”

Ward 1 Alderman Buddy Clarke expressed, “I think the Mayor and City Attorney made a calm and clear case with some added background. For me that was enough to respect the Mayor’s request.”  All five Board of Alderman were contacted and given an opportunity to comment, only Alderman Hall and Alderman Clarke responded by The Gazebo Gazette’s deadline.

In financial related matters, the Board approved: $250 donation to the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast in support of their 28th Annual Steak and Stake Boots and Bling Event; $5,000 to Urban Development Toolbox, LLC to assist the City in developing Urban Renewal District with preparing for BP Oil Grant application; Change Order increase of $47,350 for PC Small Craft Harbor Pier Repair Contract and personnel fill actions for filling a vacant  Fire Fighter position starting at $32,152 and the Director of Building Code Services position starting at $42,000.

Additionally passed was a Resolution employing a Retention Agreement with Negrotto and Associates, PPLC (Skip Negrotto) on a contingency fee basis to pursue litigation against Delta Directional Drilling or any other related entity for damages to the City’s sewer main on West North Street. Estimated expenses are between $6,000 and  $9,000. Ward 3 Alderman Anthony Hall questioned the 33 1/3 recovery fee, however, City Attorney Malcolm Jones confirmed this was the standard fee for similar cases. Furthermore, Negrotto’s Retention Agreement noted, “I have done a cursory review of the information obtained from City Hall on this matter.  I also spoke to Kermit Anthony regarding the same. It appears there is adequate proof of causation and damages. It also appears that the company is at fault.”

In another Executive Session, the BOA voted to schedule a hearing for August 6th to determine whether or not the manufactured home owned by John O. Trepagnier should be declared a public menace. Using MCA Section 21-11-19 and the International Property Maintenance Code (2018), they will also determine the safety of the manufactured home and whether or not it should be demolished.

Also approved was a request from Prescott Williams and V.J. Swanier for the use of the Fleitas Ave basketball court on July 27th, from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.  They are hosting their 1st Annual Coast Back to School Drive. They are currently accepting donations and additional information can be obtained from the Pass Christian Recreation Department.

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