Mayor vetoes bond claim effort
By Cassandra Favre
Mar 10, 2017, 18:16
Mayor Les Fillingame on Thursday vetoed an action made by the Bay St. Louis City Council during its Feb. 7 meeting that sought to continue pursuing the bonds of the responsible parties to recoup mis-spent Department of Justice funds.
According to the minutes, which were approved Tuesday, the first motion -- made my Council President Mike Favre and seconded by Councilman Lonnie Falgout -- said, "Motion to restore the improperly used DOJ funds by transferring from the Bay St. Louis general fund, as soon as the funds are available, the amount of $299,968 to the Bay St. Louis DOJ account for the sole benefit of the Bay St. Louis Police Department. The council will continue to pursue the bonds of the responsible parties with the help of the Mississippi Office of State Auditor and/or outside legal counsel to recover the funds."
According to the veto notice, Fillingame vetoed the action because "there has been no credible determination of any responsible party."
He also referenced the OSA letter, dated Feb. 21, 2017, which he said suggests the OSA would not support this action.
"The council's pursuit of a claim against the bonds of employees has been at great expense to the citizens for legal and audit fees that would have not otherwise been incurred," Fillingame said in the veto.
Fillingame said Friday he is not vetoing the action to transfer the funds to the DOJ account, as the council made two "distinct motions" during the meeting.
According to the minutes, the second motion, made by Favre and seconded by Councilman Doug Seal, said "Motion to transfer from the Bay St. Louis general fund to the Bay St. Louis DOJ account the amount of $299,968 by Feb. 28, 2017."
Fillingame said he is vetoing the action with the additional language.
The funds have already been transferred to the city's DOJ account, he said.
Falgout said Friday that the way he interprets the veto is that the mayor "cannot line item a veto."
"If he's vetoing a measure, he's vetoing the total motion," he said. "If he's looking to clear up the verbiage, then we can go back and do that. The money should have never been transferred then, if he was planning on vetoing it."
The council will address the veto during its next meeting, which is scheduled for March 21 at 5:30 p.m.