Battles between Bay St. Louis council and its mayor just won't end

Battles between Bay St. Louis council and its mayor just won't end
A preliminary audit revealed several shortcomings; including money taken from the harbor account incorrectly. (Photo source: WLOX)

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - The Bay St. Louis City Council is demanding the mayor give a recommendation for a new city attorney. And council members don't want that name to be Don Rafferty.

Tuesday night, Mayor Les Fillingame asked the council to approve a new contract for the longtime city attorney. But the council refused and asked the mayor to appoint someone new for the position.

A special meeting Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 will likely end the stalemate.

Rafferty's contract as city attorney was extended last month, but the extension expired at the beginning of August.

Bay St. Louis residents should be able to watch that special meeting on Facebook. Video of all Bay St. Louis public meetings will now stream live on the city's Facebook page.

Broadcasting council meetings became a divisive conversation Monday. The administration had an employee live stream a budget workshop. Council members asked for the stream to be taken down. "Turn the camera off.  Turn the camera off," councilman Lonnie Falgout told the city worker assigned to live stream the meeting.  "The mayor wants to do it, the mayor can put it on the agenda, ask the council if it can be done.  This is the council chambers, this is the council meeting and anything that goes on in the council meeting has to be approved by the council."

The mayor objected on Tuesday saying it was an open meeting.

At the time, councilman Falgout says he opposed the budget meeting being streamed because sensitive and personal matters were being discussed. But now, he says after reviewing an Attorney General ruling, he has no intention of stopping a live stream in the future.  That's why Tuesday's meeting was live streamed on Facebook.

"Personally I don't think anybody should find out about how their job is or what their job is on Facebook, that's just my opinion," Falgout said during discussion about the issue. "With that being said there's an AG's opinion that says cameras can be allowed and we will abide by that."

The city started streaming meetings earlier this month and now has plans to stream every public meeting council holds.

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