State Auditor investigates contract worker in Bay St. Louis

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The state auditor's office has confirmed to WLOX News that it is investigating whether the brother of a Bay St. Louis councilman is getting paid twice for doing one job.

Tommy Kidd, brother of Ward 6 Councilman Ray Kidd, is paid by the city to supervise post Katrina property clean up. He also gets a check from the Hancock County Solid Waste Authority to manage litter control and illegal dumping.

A complaint to the auditor lead to an investigation which began within the last week.

Kidd and his bosses say he's done nothing wrong.

"It's an old cliche, but I'd call it a witch hunt," Kidd told WLOX News.

Tommy Kidd said petty politics has put him under scrutiny by the State Auditor.

"Anytime you get in the line of fire such as this, especially when it's not grounded and there is nothing to hide, it hurts. It hurts your family."

Three years ago, the Hancock County Solid Waste Board hired Kidd as its enforcement officer. A year later, shortly after his brother won a seat on the city council, Kidd became a contract worker for Bay St. Louis to oversee post-Katrina property clean-up.

"We've discovered at least 500 properties, just in the Bay St. Louis area, that need clean up and removal. Most of those are slabs pilings and some derelict houses. That has nothing to do with what I do for the county," Kidd said.

It's a job Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame said Kidd has done very well, saving the city thousands of dollars by negotiating with property owners to clean up their land, and avoiding costly legal battles.

"He has taken that task on and has done a monumental job of getting the majority of them done. I can't think of anybody else in Bay St. Louis that I would have out there handling something as sensitive as working with people on cleaning their properties," Mayor Fillingame said of Kidd.

Fillingame, who is also the chairman of the Solid Waste Board, is pleased with the work Kidd's doing as the enforcement officer as well, and sees no problem with Kidd earning $30,000 a year for each job.

"I'm not really sure where this came from, but the real danger is to those that make the accusations and actually file an official complaint. We always hate to say that anything is done with a political motivation, but if that's the case, sometimes these kind of things can actually back-fire on the people who make the complaints."

The attorney for the Solid Waste Board agrees.

"Anytime anyone files a complaint with the State Auditor's Office, they have a duty to investigate it. That doesn't mean there's actually a problem or an issue," explained Solid Waste Board Attorney Ronnie Artiques.

Mayor Les Fillingame said Kidd's two contract jobs don't overlap, so he sees no conflict.

"The primary question was whether or not the services that Tommy was providing, Mr. Kidd was providing, was being duplicated with his services that he's providing for the city and for the Solid Waste Authority. And I think there's a definite resounding 'No' to that."

Mayor Fillingame said his office has cooperated fully with the State Auditor's investigation, providing them with documents they've requested.

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