by Calvin Ishee, Associate Publisher

After less than a year on the job, Deputy Police Chief Chad Sims resigned effective May 4, 2021 and Pass Christian Lieutenant Chris Williams was selected as his replacement on the same date. Sims was hired on August 18, 2020 and was hailed by one Alderman as  a “coup” for the City.
According to an email from Pass Christian Police Chief Daren Freeman to the Mayor and Board of Alderman, Sims as well as Officer Daniel Sullivan resigned to take positions within other departments on the Coast. They cited better pay, work schedule and fringe benefits packages as their reasons for leaving the Pass Police Department.
Chief Freeman further stated that he recommended Lt. Williams for the Deputy Chief position because he had already worked for the Pass Police Department for almost five years, had previously interviewed for the Deputy Chief position whereby he finished with the second highest score and he was following the Board’s previous desires to promote from within.
Freeman added, “Lt. Williams is the most qualified supervisor we have and had proven himself to the officers and myself, and the Civil Service Commission supports this action”.
Although the Board approved Williams appointment, it was done so after a prolonged discussion by a vote of 3 for, 1 against and 1 abstention. Ward 2 Alderwoman Regina Charlot voted no while Ward 3 Alderman Anthony Hall voted to abstain.
Alderwoman Charlot asked why the position wasn’t being advertised and added that she wanted this action tabled for further study. She mentioned the “need for more diversity“ as well as the need to study why the Pass Christian Police Department appears to be a “revolving door” for law enforcement officers.
Alderman at Large Kenny Torgeson affirmed Chief Freeman’s email by adding,  “We’ve (already) been talking about promoting from within.”
After further discussion Alderwoman Charlot’s motion to table this matter was about to die since her motion hadn’t been seconded, however Hall’s cell phone contact had been reestablished and he seconded Charlot’s motion to table Williams promotion.
On a vote of 2 for and 3 against, the motion to table was defeated. Throughout the meeting the proceedings were interrupted with fallen or lost cell phone connections with Alderman Hall as well as Ward 4 Alderman Victor Pickich.
Mayor Leo “Chipper” McDermott repeatedly expressed his frustration and occasional confusion of trying to conduct official City business with never ending phone connectivity problems. He commented, “there’s got to be a better way of doing business.”
Regardless, the Board eventually approved Lt. Williams’ promotion to Deputy Police Chief. According to Chief Freeman, they still have two vacancies in his department, one in patrol and one in admin.
In what many may claim to be a real coup for the entire City of Pass Christian, the BOA unanimously approved a major economic and eco friendly project on East North Street.
This project initiated by owners Jay and Shannon Fuller and designed by Watters Architecture, includes a single family dwelling, camp sites, walking and bike paths as well as a community pool. Although the developer must commence construction within one year of approval, additional extensions may be granted for two consecutive six-month periods. This project has the potential of being an economic, educational, environmental and tourism boon for the City.
In financial matters, based on external an appraisal by appraiser Everette Ladner, the Board unanimously approved a long term sublease with Shaggy’s restaurant. This lease involves the Shaggy’s extension in the West Harbor and to the south of the existing location. As the result of the appraisal as well as approval by the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office, the annual fee has been set at $15,300.
The Gazebo Gazette is still waiting on the final plans for the Shaggy’s extension project. Stay tuned for further updates. Approved expenditures included $357,565.93 in Claims Docket expenses.
In routine business approval was given to the American Red Cross to use the Randolph Center for blood drives on Monday, June 21, 2021, Thursday, August 26, 2021 and Tuesday, December 28, 2021 as well as the use of the Randolph Center by Alderwoman Charlot and Alderman Torgeson on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 from 5:30 to 6:30 to address community concerns.
As the meeting was coming to an end and the floor was opened for public comments, Gabrielle Charlot Malley rose to address her concerns about the challenges she and her family has faced with resolving the murder case involving her brother Kenneth Charlot, from February 2018.
Due to the length and importance of her comments, a separate article will be provided by The Gazebo Gazette.
The next Pass Christian meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen is scheduled for Tuesday, May 18, 2021, 6 pm at the City Annex/Auditorium.