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City manager terminated over consultant controversy

D’IBERVILLE — Michael Janus has been fired from his job as city manager in D’Iberville.

The mayor and board of aldermen took the action Wednesday in an ongoing dispute over an agreement that Janus signed with a Pascagoula consulting firm.

At a meeting last month, Janus said he never notified the city council about that deal, and he never got city approval.

City officials tell The Sun Herald Janus will be paid through July 1 when his contract expires. Sharron Perkins will continue as D’Iberville’s interim city manage

Janus took a leave of absence in February when the contract issue arose.

Although the council members hadn’t voted on the contract with Maxwell-Walker Consultants, they agreed to pay the firm a $180,000 finder’s fee for obtaining a $3 million BP grant to cover some of the city’s cost for the Ocean Expo aquarium.

Mayor Rusty Quave said the FBI has joined the investigation and has been to City Hall.

“They haven’t talked to me,” Quave said. “They are talking to city officials.”

Last week, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality said the city has 30 days to return $1.4 million of that $3 million BP grant and may require repayment of $945,000 more if the city can’t provide additional documentation.

Quave said he and other city officials met with MDEQ this week in Jackson, but wouldn’t disclose the details of the meeting.

In an email to the Sun Herald following Wednesday’s meeting, Janus said the council had authorized him to enter into contracts.

“I continue to affirm that I did nothing wrong as I had full authority to engage consultants based upon a Nov. 17, 2009 resolution,” Janus said.

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