Diamondhead facing performance audit and tension among officials - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Diamondhead facing performance audit and tension among officials

The Diamondhead administration held a meeting Monday morning to hear a report on an ongoing performance audit. (Photo source: WLOX) The Diamondhead administration held a meeting Monday morning to hear a report on an ongoing performance audit. (Photo source: WLOX)
The person conducting the city audit said Diamondhead is being run remarkably well for how young it is.  (Photo source: WLOX) The person conducting the city audit said Diamondhead is being run remarkably well for how young it is. (Photo source: WLOX)
DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) -

A young city on the coast is facing a bit of tension among its officials. The Diamondhead administration held a meeting Monday morning to hear a report on an ongoing performance audit there. The audit is looking into the operations of the city government.

The mayor and city manager of Diamondhead admittedly do not see eye to eye.

"Specifically yes, there are some tensions between the mayor and myself," said City Manager Clovis Reed.

According to Reed, those tensions played a part in starting a performance audit that's currently being conducted.

"It was my recommendation based on some allegations the mayor had made of some mishandling of money," said Reed.

These allegations date back to a May 10th council meeting in which the council, minus the mayor, voted to approve several financial issues. Mayor Tommy Schafer said these issues were not handled properly. But, he said disagreeing with other officials doesn't mean things are falling apart for the city.

"If there's no differences of opinion, there's no elevation in the school of thought. There's no elevation in practice," said Schafer.

But, the mayor called for Reed's resignation earlier this year, claiming he was illegally giving himself raises. The council did not approve his recommendation. Reed said his procedures were not illegal. Sam Atkinson, director of the performance audit division of the state auditors office says nothing has shown up that proves otherwise. In fact, from what she had found up to this point, she said the city was being run remarkably well for how young it was.

But she does have suggestions.

"Organization of the city is improving, but there still needs to be a little more depth," said Atkinson.

For instance, she believes some responsibilities should be divided up among more people to prevent conflicts of interest. But, she said the way city officials are communicating is healthy. "It doesn't matter that the elected officials may not always agree. They communicate. And that's very, very important," said Atkinson.

Residents, like Lee Taylor, saw the meeting as progress for the city.

"I think what I saw here today was an absolute perfect example of how Diamondhead's changing. These people inherited a city of 9,000 with absolutely no infrastructure in place and I think they've done a great job, so far," said Taylor.

Mayor Schafer said his hopes are that the residents of Diamondhead see that he's trying to do the right thing when it comes to being the mayor.

"I'm here to serve. If somebody wants something, I'll try to help in any way I can. I preside over the council meetings as the president of the council and serve in a ceremonial fashion," said Schafer.

Before adjourning, the meeting went into a short executive session for the purpose of discussing potential for liability and personnel issues. Officials wouldn't offer further comment.

Atkinson will be conducting the performance audit for two more days and then compiling the final results. She expects that these results could be complete in a few months.

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