by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher/AP member – editor@thegazebogazette.com

With numerous concerns surrounding the building code and permits, the Pass Christian Board of Aldermen hired Mark Savasta as the new Code Enforcement Director/Building Code Official at the Board of Alderman regular meeting August 16, 2022.  Savasta; currently a Pascagoula resident, is a former building official in the city of Houston, Texas along with several other city government years of experience.

Savasta has over 40 certifications and is licensed in numerous fields; including a national flood plain license and was the coordinator of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for the city of Pascagoula.

After volunteering on the coast following Hurricane Katrina, Savasta earned his bachelor’s degree in construction engineering from the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) while he was employed in Pascagoula.  Along with his work in the city government, he began a career starting his own construction company.

While the vote to approve his hire was not unanimous; 4-1, Ward 2 Alderwoman Regina Charlot claimed her dissenting vote was not because she didn’t think he was the right candidate, but because the city budget was not approved yet and these personnel changes should wait.

Before the vote was cast, Ward 4 Alderman Victor Pickich questioned Mayor Jimmy Rafferty about why Savasta needed a $250 gas card commuting from Pascagoula to Pass Christian.  Pickich expressed that due to Savasta being a department head, he would be given a budget for his department.

Alderman-at-Large Kenny Torgeson second this motion amended by Pickich and the card was taken off the vote, which approved the hire of Savasta on a 4-1 vote.

The city of Pass Christian publicly thanked the interim Building Code Official; Gene Peralta, for stepping in at a dire need at this position.  Mayor Jimmy Rafferty later revealed that Savasta would not begin until Monday, August 22 where Peralta would remain until Wednesday, August 24 to ensure a smooth transition.