GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - The following is a letter from Ward 5 Councilman Adam Colledge to WLOX News.
To Whom it May Concern,
My name is Adam Colledge and I am the Ward 5 Councilman in Gautier. I would like to let it be known that 3 out of the 7 were heavily opposed to the additional layoffs as proposed by the mayor. 3 out of 7 also voted against the budget. Unfortunately, both passed by a 4-3 vote. Several good employees will now be unemployed for no reason.
We had a proposed budget last Friday that did not include a millage increase for the general fund and involved limited layoffs, but on Sunday, the Mayor made the motion to eliminate additional positions (strictly in the Finance department) during an executive session to which the City Clerk was not present because she was asked to leave by the mayor. More or less, she was blind sided by the motion after the meeting.
The passed budget included cost cuttings in every department, except one. With the mayor being a former police officer, it is pretty evident which department had an increased budget; (3) new dispatchers, (10) new police cars, (4) promotions to Sergeant. Some may argue that you can't cut the budget for life safety, yet the Fire Department was also required to make budget cuts, including but not limited to overtime pay. The police department experienced no such budget cuts.
The City of Gautier operates under a Manager/Council form of government. I personally feel that certain members of the council directing the Manager the exact positions to cut is a conflict of interest and beyond the scope of this style government. This form of government is meant to eliminate politics from city operations. The City Manager, by description, handles the day to day operations of the city, and should be the person recommending where lay-offs and budget cuts should occur.
We are now without a City Clerk, and only half a finance department, most of which are lower tier employees. Those individuals capable of handling the city finances were eliminating tonight based, in my opinion, primarily on personal vendettas.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.
Councilman Ward 5
City of Gautier