Hancock County

Diamondhead mayor clashes with city manager



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 Diamondhead Mayor Tommy Schafer
PATRICK OCHS/SUN HERALD Diamondhead Mayor Tommy Schafer

DIAMONDHEAD -- The City Council held a specially called meeting Tuesday morning to deal with several actions taken by the city manager, including two pay raises he received over the past 18 months.

The council voted unanimously to retroactively approve the pay raises and health benefits of all city employees, including City Manager Clovis Reed. Mayor Tommy Schafer cast the lone dissenting vote. Council members and the mayor, however, did agree on a measure to request a performance and compliance review from the Office of the State Auditor to assess the city’s finances and policy-making practices.

The meeting came on the heels of a failed attempt by Schafer to have Reed suspended. He had called for Reed’s suspension at last week’s meeting, but his motion died for lack of a second.

“My concerns here are not personal, not political,” Schafer said. “But he’s got to do his job. He’s got to collect the taxes, he cannot give himself raises and he cannot renew contracts without bringing them before the council.”

The council hired Reed in 2014 to replace Richard Rose, who was dismissed earlier that summer.

Reed’s starting salary was set at $95,000 a year. Rose had been making $65,000 a year.

Since then, Schafer said, Reed gave himself two pay raises without council apraises without council approval.

In December 2014, he received a $3,800 per year raise, records show.

In September, Reed gave himself another raise, this time $877 per year, bringing his total salary to $99,677 per year and making him the highest-paid official in the city.

Reed said the mayor has pointed out some things the council has been doing incorrectly, but stressed the raises had already been approved. He referred to the council’s approval of a 5 percent raise for all city employees.

It was unclear if the measure was intended to include the city manager.

“I didn’t give myself a raise as he’s alleging,” Reed said.

The mayor said other issues of concern were Reed’s renewal of the city’s employee health-insurance plan without council approval and the waiving of a $37,000 building permit for the construction of Diamondhead’s new wastewater-treatment facility.

The permit cost was built into the federal grant the city received for the facility, and Schafer believes Reed does not have the authority to waive such fees.

“Why would the council ever waive a permit fee when it’s not ratepayer money?” the mayor said. “They’re building it with federal funds, FEMA funds, not ratepayer money.”

Reed said he believes Schafer is upset over the mayor’s limited power in the council-manager form of government.

“There’s nothing sinister happening,” Reed said. “I’m standing tough, and he’s attacking. We’re determined to make the council-manager form of government work.”