by Calvin Ishee
As requested by Ward 2 Alderwoman Regina Charlot, the Board briefly discussed her concerns regarding the large number of employees that are allowed to drive City owned vehicles home on a daily basis. Charlot noted that many on the approved list are not assigned to positions that operate on a “on call” basis and stated that the current policy is not a wise use of taxpayer resources and should be changed. According to City Clerk Marian Governor, approximately 50 of the City’s employees are allowed to take vehicles home. The Board agreed and scheduled a workshop on Tuesday, March 24 at 6 p.m. The matter will be formally addressed at the April 21 meeting of the Mayor and Board of Alderman.
Former WLOX reporter Doug Walker and Mississippi Coast YMCA CEO Rob Kirkland pitched the Board on supporting their proposed $23 million dollar new YMCA project. This new state of the art facility will be 64,000 square feet and include an indoor Aquatics Center, locker rooms, indoor track, gymnasium, exercise studios, Community meeting rooms and much more. This effort requires legislative approval since $18 million is targeted to come from BP Restore Act money while the remaining $5 million will come directly from the Y. Ward 3 Alderman Anthony Hall then offered to propose a resolution formally supporting this project. Additional information can be found at mgcymca.org.
Mayor Chipper McDermott presented Coastal Mississippi – The Secret Coast CEO Milton Segarra with a proclamation designating March 11, 2020 as “Coastal Mississippi Day” in Pass Christian. This effort directly supports Mississippi tourism which represents one-third of our state’s tourism employees, expenditures and taxes. The region welcomes over 13.5 million visitors per year, spending more than $2.1 billion, translating to $3.3 billion in economic impact. Coastal Mississippi – The Secret Coast works with cities to maximize interest in tourism along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
In financial matters the Board approved the Claims Docket of $228,958.62; a $367,701.84 per year contract with WPSCO for the Operation and Maintenance of City Water and Sewer for a three year term beginning April 1, 2020; matching grant application of $10,000 with the Assistance to Firefighters Grant for self contained breathing apparatus; a $300 donation to the annual War Memorial Easter Egg Hunt; purchasing a $500 Art in the Pass sponsorship and $125 for initial membership to the Building Officials Association of MS.
Routine approvals included the Krewe of Blarney’s request to host the 25th Pass Christian St. Patrick Day Parade on Saturday, March 14, 2020; Proclamation of March 30 – April 3rd as National Boys and Girls Club Week in the City of Pass Christian; loan of the PC City Stage to the City of Long Beach for the 2020 Jeepin the Coast Parade on May 30; waiver of fees to Fit First for use of Memorial Park on March 21 for the annual Bring It to the Bay Half Marathon; and the Whiskey Bar’s request for two barricades to block Davis Ave from 6-9 p.m. following the St Paddy’s event on Saturday, March 14.
Two Executive Sessions were called by the Board and the first addressed a “reduction in force” issue in the Community Development/Building Code Department. City Attorney Malcolm Jones announced that “it was the consensus of the Board that the roving position in the Community Development/Building Office be eliminated”. Jones further stated that this action was based on the “lack of work” and not the performance of the employee.
Additionally, Jones expressed that the Board’s decision was based on Community Development Director Tom Duffy’s recommendation.
The second Executive Session was held to discuss a Security Evaluation Report of the City’s computer and network dated February 17, 2020, conducted by Allied Technology Group. Jones reported that “no action” was taken by the Board. No other information regarding the results of the report were made available to the public.
A robust Public Comments portion of the meeting included numerous positive comments and thank you’s from the Mayor and Alderman for the highly safe and successful 2020 Pass Parade. Special thanks were offered to City employees especially to those that worked on the day of the parade. Mayor “Chipper” McDermott personally thanked Ward 3 Alderman Anthony Hall and Ward 4 Alderman Victor Pickich for their financial support of the City Hall reception, “wonderful job” by all.
Pass Christian School District Superintendent Dr. Carla Evers rose to thank the Mayor and Board for their ongoing support of the district. She stated, “We cannot do what we do without you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
An unnamed representative from Corvettes Towing and Recovery service rose to express their displeasure for the new PCPD rotating towing service plan. Recently the Board approved a new policy mandating the rotation of PCPC related towing requirements which allows multiple towing services instead of just one.