Phone conversation reveals tension between Diamondhead officials

Phone conversation reveals tension between Diamondhead officials
Mayor Tommy Schafer (Photo source: WLOX)
Mayor Tommy Schafer (Photo source: WLOX)
City Manager Clovis Reed (Photo source: WLOX)
City Manager Clovis Reed (Photo source: WLOX)

DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - Tensions are growing in the City of Diamondhead between officials.

We previously told you about a performance audit being conducted in the city. Now, an intense phone conversation between the mayor and city manager has been released to WLOX News Now.

In this conversation, it's easy to hear the situation escalate. At the end of the conversation between Mayor Tommy Schafer and City Manager Clovis Reed, this is what you hear.

"You are the most manipulative son of a b@*&$ I've ever encountered," said Schafer. Reed quickly responds, "I'm going to hang up now, because I don't have to take abuse."

"It got uncomfortable. I've never had an employer talk to me that way," said Reed Tuesday in his office at city hall.

What led to the hostility? According to Reed, it's a misunderstanding of responsibility.

In the conversation, Schafer tells Reed he's a guest at council meetings, implying he doesn't have the power or right to change agenda items.

"When we have these council meetings, it's the only time we have a real opportunity for transparency with the public," said Schafer.

Reed said the city operates under a council-manager form of government. He said that, under statutes, means the city manager is the administrative head.

In the phone conversation, Schafer can be heard saying, "No, I don't think the statute says anything about an entire administration." Reed responds, "OK. Well, have you read it recently?"

According to Reed, the statute is clearly stated in the State of Mississippi's code book.

"It says the city manager shall be responsible to the council for the entire administration of the city government," said Reed.

Schafer said he's not thrilled with the function of the city's current form of government.

"The most popular form of government in the State of Mississippi is the mayor-aldermen form, and it seems to function best with state agencies," said Schafer.

The conversation didn't stop at municipal responsibility. At one point, the mayor wasn't satisfied with Reed's answer regarding mail at city hall. Reed told Schafer he was receiving official mail and not submitting it to the administration.

Schafer responds to the accusation, "Bull s$@t, you lying, fat, mother f@^*er." Reed responds that he can prove his accusations.

Schafer does admit the conversation got pretty intense.

"I'll just say I'm very passionate, and I want the right things done, and that's my only focus, and it does get exhausting at times. That was one of those particular exhausting days, yes," said Schafer.

He thinks the effort to record the phone conversation is a setup for the next election cycle.

"It's a political situation that's being driven by political agenda," said Schafer.

Reed disagreed.

"No, I don't play politics. I stay out of politics. My job as the administration, I work with whoever is elected," Reed said.

Reed believes there's no need for the way Schafer handled the phone call.

"You have to keep it civil, and you've got to make it to where people feel comfortable doing their job," said Reed.

Reed and Schafer both say it's their job to make the city the best it can be.

The City of Diamondhead is undergoing a performance audit by the State Auditor's Office. Official results are expected in a few months.

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