by Calvin Ishee
For only the third time in thirty years, Pass Christian welcomed Daren Freeman as it’s new Police Chief. Mayor Leo “Chipper” McDermott stated that “after seeing Daren in action over the past 72 hours, it’s obvious to me that we made the right choice.” Chief Freeman was given the oath of office by the Honorable Judge Christopher Schmidt, who was assisted by Chief Freeman’s daughter, Emma Cait Freeman.
Judge Schmidt commented, “I can’t think of a better person to fill this job”. The Mayor followed up by saying, “We looked for the best and we have the best.” In his acceptance speech Chief Freeman expressed, “I want to thank the Board and the Mayor for the opportunity to lead one of the finest police departments in the State and Country. We will be successful in keeping our community safe with, for and through the community.”
In general business, the Board approved the Pass Christian Library’s request to use Memorial Park on Saturday, September 2nd for an educational festival about butterflies and monarchs; Holy Family Parish’s request to host their Seafood Festival, October 4-6, 2019; approved a 90 day rental agreement with the Gazebo Gazette for office space in the Randolph Center, until a permanent office location can be found; the ratification of a Memo of Understanding for the PC Police Department’s participation in the Gulf Coast Crisis Intervention Team and the hiring of Haley Overstreet as a full time police officer.
The Board obligated funds for various projects: $65,620 to DNA Underground, LLC for lift station valve and discharge pipe replacement; $85,863.19 to Harrison County for paving projects reimbursement; $6,250 to Orion Planning and Design for design services related to BP funded projects; and $25,686 to the Idemia Corporation to purchase of new fingerprint machines for the PC Police Department.
Although seven of the Planning Departments eight recommendations were easily approved by the Board, one issue involving the approval of a proposed 16 lot subdivision on East Second Street was met with citizen complaints.
Janice Stegenga rose to express her deep concern for flooding in this area. Stegenga said, “I am concerned about the drainage and I just want them to do it right.”
The Mayor and several board members noted this request was in the conceptual stage and the owner would be required to address the drainage issue. City Attorney Malcolm Jones told the Pass residents that he would take their names whereby he would seek their input when the project moves out of the conceptual phase. The Board voted 3-2 to move this project forward, Ward 3 Alderman Anthony Hall and Ward 4 Victor Pickich voted against this project.
The Board entered into two Executive Sessions, one resulting in “no action” being taken and the other resulting in the Board voting to take disciplinary action against the PC City Clerk, Marion Governor.
According to City Attorney Jones, “Ms. Governor violated City policy and as a Department Head, the Board felt she should be punished according.”
Although not specifically stated, the City Clerk will serve a brief suspension.
The next Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 16th, 6 p.m. at the Pass Christian Municipal Court.