D'Iberville Mayor Criticizes City Manager's Job Performance - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/21/04

D'Iberville Mayor Criticizes City Manager's Job Performance

The alleged mishandling of a city check prompted the D'Iberville city council to place city manager Alan Santa Cruz on administrative leave, with pay.

But Mayor Rusty Quave says the problems with the city manager go beyond this latest incident. He says Santa Cruz's job performance has become an issue that's been discussed more than once in executive session.

The city of D'iberville owed Richard Buckman money for consulting services. Buckman owed councilman Oliver Diaz Senior money for a personal loan. When Buckman tried to collect from the city, city manager Alan Santa Cruz gave the check to Diaz and told Buckman he'd have to collect payment from the councilman.

"I'm not an attorney. I can't say was the law broken. I can only talk personally. And I do not believe that what was done was done professionally or ethically," said Mayor Rusty Quave, in commenting about the check handling incident.

The mayor says the city council took the appropriate action placing Alan Santa Cruz on administrative leave. He says the check incident raises serious concerns.

"Does a city manager have the right to pull a contractor's check out of the file, give it to a city councilman based on a personal loan. That to me is unethical. It also puts the city of D'Iberville liable," he said.

But the mayor also suggests the troubles at city hall extend beyond this incident. He says the city manager's performance hasn't been up to par for the past year.

Mayor Quave says the new marine education center in D'Iberville is another example of the city manager not doing his job. Just days after it opened to the public, there was a fire which damaged the building, but there was no insurance on it.

Mayor Quave says that was the responsibility of the city manager.

"That building was not insured from negligence of our city manager. It's going to cost the City of D'iberville an additional 25 or 30 thousand dollars to repair that building. That should have been insured," he said.

The mayor faced some criticism for speaking out about the city manager's job performance in an open meeting outside the executive session.

But longtime resident John Mikovich, who was at the council meeting, appreciated the mayor's remarks.

"You have some of the members saying, oh what we talked about behind closed doors shouldn't have been brought out. But we the citizens need to hear something. And I felt Rusty was obligated to come out and say something," said Mikovich.

WLOX News tried to contact city manager Alan Santa Cruz. He did not return phone calls.

By the way, the day to day management of the city is now being done by the longtime city clerk.

By Steve Phillips

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