Public Works director suspended, ordered into anger management counseling

OCEAN SPRINGS — Public Works director Andre Kaufman has been suspended for three days without pay, ordered to attend anger management counseling and placed on six months’ probation by the mayor and Board of Aldermen.

The Sun Herald reported that Mayor Connie Moran and the board met about three hours behind closed doors Wednesday to discuss action against Kaufman.

Moran says a letter of reprimand sent to Kaufman before the meeting cited an email critical of an alderman and other instances that city officials found to be inappropriate.

Kaufman apologized after the board announced its decision.

I apologize if I’ve offended anybody,” he said. “I apologize to my fellow city employees … I said I’m sorry for it. I’ve shook hands with most of you and I hope the others will go on with business as usual.”

As a department head, Kaufman answers to the mayor and Board of Aldermen.

His most recent problems arose when he sent an email to school Superintendent Bonita Coleman-Potter late last month, accusing “a certain alderman” of causing an unnecessary uproar with his “ongoing ‘chicken little’ style” of reporting problems.

Alderman Chic Cody had reported snakes in a ditch near the Upper Elementary on Government, which used to be the high school, and on July 24 suggested the school district and Coleman-Potter ask Public Works to clean the ditch.

Kaufman sent crews, cleaned the ditch, but found only one snake.

Kaufman informed Coleman-Potter in an email that there was only one snake, sent pictures and suggested the Public Works Department’s opinion be given consideration in such matters in the future.

Kaufman sent a second email a day later apologizing for his tone and said he was really trying to get a message to an alderman, though he didn’t name who in the email.

The school is in Cody’s ward.

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