Former Pascagoula mayor addresses current mayor's claims on city's financial debt
PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Jim Blevins, the former mayor of Pascagoula, released a statement in reference to allegations by the city's current administration regarding a $14 million deficit.
In late July, mayor Dane Maxwell released a packet of documents that included city budgets years 2012 to 2017 and a recent forensic audit. "We initiated this action as we continue to seek a complete understanding of the severity of poor fiscal management practices in the past, and the extent to which any employees or officials were responsible or had knowledge of the financial mismanagement at the city," said Maxwell.
"The best practices in municipal budgeting were not followed by previous administrations," read a statement from the auditor.
Former mayor Jim Blevins statement responds to the implication that his administration may be responsible for the deficit. In his letter, he noted, "It is incomprehensible to think that any council member in the last three councils might have intentionally done something fraudulent or criminal."
Read Blevins' full statement below:
I have no opinion on what the mayor might be saying, I try to support every administration by being deeply engaged as a volunteer in community activities, committees, and boards over the last 25 years. I reach out to the present mayor and council on a number of occasions, but have not had anyone ask me for input.
It is incomprehensible to think that any council member in the last three councils might have intentionally done something fraudulent or criminal. I would like to reiterate that -- it is incomprehensible to think council members in the last three councils intentionally committed fraud or acted criminally.
Every administration since Hurricane Katrina has had big challenges managing the revenues and expenses of Pascagoula. There has been tremendous progress during the past 12 years and every administration builds off the successes and failures of those that came before them.
The present administration developed and approved the present budget they are using and all previous financial records are available to the public. I was told the present council has spent $44 million through the first three quarters of this budget year.
When I left office, there was a very experienced staff in place and I have been told there are several key positions not filled, including the most important position in the city -- the permanent city manager. We purposely left this position open so this administration could choose a city manager of their choice.
During the previous administration, there were four external audits done by a highly respected local firm. There are also additional financial reviews by the State of Mississippi Development Bank related to the two bonds we sought to get approved.
These audits are public record.
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