City leaders interviewed the final three candidates for Ocean Springs Public Works director this week and former director Andre Kaufman is among them.
Retired for several years now, he made the cut.
Kaufman is known for his his ability to get city streets cleaned after a hurricane, but also for a turbulent history with city politics and a questionable scrap sale fund.
The department under Kaufman won awards, but he also was given the option to retire when using city employees to collect and sell scrap metal to support a Public Works Department fund came under investigation by the state and met with disapproval from the Board of Aldermen. The district attorney, however, found insufficient evidence that a crime had occurred.
Kaufman said he liked being Public Works director.
“I applied. I loved the job. I always loved it. Can you think of anyone better qualified?”
He said he understood that there were originally 20 applicants, narrowed to three, who were sent to the Board of Aldermen. He interviewed Monday.
The position pays between $60,000 and $65,000. To be qualified, the city is asking for either an engineer or someone with at least four years experience as director or assistant director of a public works department.
Of those three, “I’m the only one from Ocean Springs or even from the Coast, I know that much,” he said.
Mayor Shea Dobson said Tuesday he doesn’t expect a vote right away, unless aldermen say they are ready.
Dobson said he was hoping for a consensus on whatever candidate they choose. He did not release the names of the other two.
Kaufman told the Sun Herald, in a previous interview, he knew the city water and sewer systems, and was able to position men to cut off water lines during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that saved the city time in re-establishing water and sewer service.
He said that since he left, city leaders have asked him to consider a position with the city dealing specifically with hurricane recovery, because of his expertise.