Coast tourism board working to overcome internal divide

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 6:52 AM CDT
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BILOXI, Mississippi (WLOX) - Distrust and frustration have been growing among the Coastal Mississippi Board of Commissioners for some time. Now. the board is on the verge of progress.

Frustration was evident at Tuesday’s special call meeting as divides among the board of commissioners has grown over the last year.

“I am not sure of the cause,” said Board President Brooke Shoultz. “It just seems to keep growing with time.”

The internal battles are casting Coastal Mississippi CEO Milton Segarra’s future in doubt, forcing the board to go into executive session twice to discuss the job performance of both Segarra and his staff. No action has been taken against Segarra or his employees.

The four-hour special call meeting was hopefully a step forward in bringing the board closer together. Regardless, it will certainly change how the individual committees conduct tourism business.

All committee meetings will now be open to commissioners. Paperwork will be required to be in much sooner moving forward. This gives the staff more time to adequately prepare and gives the commissioners time to read over the material.

The board plans on doing a number of things differently moving forward. Last year, the different committees held 78 meetings. The board intends to cut that number down drastically to cut expenses and allow staff more time to take care of business. They also agreed to search for an outside consulting firm to come in and conduct individual interviews in an attempt to bridge the gaps that have grown over the last year.

“We made great progress (Tuesday) coming together as a board and we are going to continue to do so,” said Shoultz.

The Coastal Mississippi board also reinforced that all employees and commissioners respect and follow the inclusivity and diversity policy.

“I know there has been a lot of talk throughout the Coast and the media on the divisions within this board and we made great progress today,” said Shoultz.

Shoultz believes the board made progress during the special call meeting in their efforts to work together.

“Now is the time to come together. We have a wonderful community to promote,” she said.

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