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City manager takes unpaid leave over hiring of consultant

D’IBERVILLE — Mayor Rusty Quave says city manager Michael Janus is on a voluntary indefinite, unpaid leave of absence.

Janus, reading from a statement Tuesday at the D’Iberville City Council meeting, says he was taking the step because of questions raised about consultant hiring practices that didn’t appear to follow standard procedures.

The Sun Herald reports that it had found that Janus had personally contracted with Scott Walker to secure a BP grant to cover the city’s expenses for Ocean Expo Aquarium.

Janus told the newspaper it was an oversight that he didn’t tell the council about the contract until after Maxwell-Walker Consultants was able to get the $3 million grant for the city. The council agreed to pay Maxwell-Walker a $180,000 finder’s fee despite the council not having a contract with the firm.

Janus said in his statement that came after an executive session of the council: “Upon review of recent consultant hiring practices, it appears that standard procedures were not followed. Although unintentional, the result has been a loss of confidence in the administration by the general public. We take this matter seriously and as with any action there are consequences. As such, I will take voluntary leave of absence without pay. The council and I will continue to review our procedures and practices and should additional remedies and actions be necessary we will do so at an appropriate time.”

He left the meeting soon after reading the statement.

Quave said after the meeting he couldn’t discuss what happened in executive session because it was a personnel matter.

The council didn’t appoint anyone to act as city manager in Janus’ absence.

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