Pass Christian Mayor Takes Leave Without Pay

Cutting the Pass Christian mayor's salary in half was at the top of the board of aldermen's agenda Monday night. The matter was put on the agenda in response to complaints that Mayor Billy McDonald has not shown much leadership in the aftermath of Katrina.

But before the votes were cast, Mayor ProTem Chipper McDermott read a letter from the mayor.

Part of the letter read: "I have been under the care of my physician and I now find it necessary to take a two week leave of absence, effective immediately, to immediately undergo further medical tests."

The mayor's two week leave will be without pay. During that time, Mayor Pro Tem Chipper McDermott will take over McDonald's duties. The board voted unanimously to table the measure to cut the mayor's pay in half.

WLOX News spoke with the mayor before Monday night's meeting. When asked about the board's original call to cut his pay in half, he said he had, "No comment."

Still, some tough decisions remain. The mayor pro-tem says he's been friends with McDonald for a long time.

"There's no joy in this at all. He's been a very able leader. He's a very articulate speaker. He's been ill lately, just hasn't come back around lately. Hopefully he will, but he hasn't been himself since the hurricane," McDermott said.

Mayor McDonald told us he's been suffering from extremely high blood pressure.