Hancock County

Bay St. Louis holds off on decision about new police chief

The Bay St. Louis City Council tabled a decision on whether to vote on Mayor Les Fillingame’s choice for police chief on Tuesday night.
The Bay St. Louis City Council tabled a decision on whether to vote on Mayor Les Fillingame’s choice for police chief on Tuesday night. klnelson@sunherald.com

The announcement of a new Bay St. Louis police chief to replace the late Mike De Nardo has been delayed for several more days after the City Council failed to vote on ratifying Mayor Les Fillingame’s appointment at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I wanted it to be done tonight,” Fillingame told the Sun Herald outside the chambers. He chose not to reveal the name of his choice. “We’ve got a tremendous person in line to be the police chief. We’re at the process now where I have suggested to (the City Council) that I’m ready to give them the name of an appointment and I want them to be ready to ratify it.”

The council instead voted to hold a workshop Dec. 15 to review personnel matters of the police department and its relationship with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Ricky Adam has been overseeing the city’s police department since De Nardo’s death in September, and some council members have said they want to explore consolidating the two entities.

Several council members also expressed concerns about hiring a new police chief with only about seven months remaining before the next citywide election and the installation of a new City Council.

“We just have some concerns,” Council President Lonnie Falgout said to the mayor during the session. “We’ve got to get this right. There are contracts we can enter into and contracts we can’t enter into. We have to be fair to the next coming council. We just need a little bit of time to breathe; we know the severity of this and everybody has been up front to you about this.”

The next date to take up the issue for a possible vote will be during the council’s next meeting Dec. 20.

The new chief would succeed De Nardo, who committed suicide outside police headquarters Sept. 8, after he was suspended by the mayor. De Nardo was being relieved of duties during a Sheriff’s Department investigation into payroll fraud.

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