Editorials

Bay, Diamondhead leaders should learn to get along

SUN HERALD FILE 
 Diamondhead is a young city in Hancock County that is encountering age-old power struggles.
SUN HERALD FILE Diamondhead is a young city in Hancock County that is encountering age-old power struggles. SUN HERALD

There's something about Hancock County.

Bay St. Louis has one of the more dysfunctional governments we've seen in a while. It's a city divided. Residents either love Mayor Les Fillingame or hate him. There's barely a sliver of common ground.

Now Diamondhead seems determined to give the Bay serious competition for daffiest government on the Coast.

There are a lot of strong personalities and wise people in Diamondhead and in the city administration. That said, it's hard to tell who's running the show in the fledgling city.

First of all there's the city proper, which is run by a council-manager form of government. Traditionally, that means the elected mayor and city council establish law and policies and the appointed city manager and his staff enforce the laws and carry out the policies.

But there is an extra layer of leadership in Diamondhead: The Property Owners Association.

Both have their share of critics but it's the recent dustup in the city government that concerns us.

Mayor Thomas Schafer and City Manager Clovis Reed have been publicly sparring over the operation of the city.

Schafer tried unsuccessfully to get Reed suspended and tried to scuttle a raise he says Reed gave himself. His motion to suspend Reed didn't get a second and he was the sole no vote on retroactive raises and health benefits for all employees.

Now the Council and mayor want the Office of State Auditor to review the city's finances and policy-making practices. Schafer doesn't believe Reed should have approved the employee health insurance plan nor should he have waived a building permit fee for a new sewage treatment plant without bringing the matters to the Council.

Perhaps it is time for the state auditor to step in and teach Diamondhead leaders how to play nice because they are starting to look a little foolish.

This editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.

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