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Gouguet announces candidacy

My name is Wayne Gouguet and I humbly ask for your vote for the office of Precinct 5 Councilman for the City of Picayune. Precinct 5 encompasses the beautiful neighborhoods which surround the Picayune High School complex. You might ask why anyone would want to serve as Councilman considering the headaches involved and the financial difficulties confronting our city. I sincerely believe we can do better and I am willing to do my part in taking Picayune in a new and different direction, both financially and administratively. I am truly committed to conducting the business of the city in an honest and ethical businesslike manner.

I believe in a conservative approach in managing the city’s finances. In the past eight years, our city’s debt has risen from $2.8 million to more than $11.4 million. During that same period, property tax collections have increased 70 percent and sales tax collections have increased by 50 percent, but we have seen limited if any improvement in the city’s aging neighborhood roads, or our failing water and sewer systems. City leaders must spend our money wisely. The city’s primary concern should be to provide our citizens a safe environment in which to live, with a sound infrastructure. I pledge to do my part in seeing that the city is operated in a financially responsible manner. I will examine all expenditures in a critical manner so as to ensure the city as a whole will benefit and strive to reduce the tax burden on the citizens and businesses.

We must open up the business of our city to the scrutiny of our citizens. For too long the city’s business has been conducted behind closed doors. This tends to lead to ill-conceived, politically driven decisions which are usually not in the best interest of the general public. I pledge to use my influence to conduct your business openly as required by the Mississippi Open Meetings Law.

We must provide our city employees with a stable, non-political workplace. In the past eight years, city hall has had a revolving door, having employed five city managers and seven city clerks. Stability is critical to the operation of our city government. I pledge to respect all employees’ right to work free from political reprisal or interference.

Picayune’s city manager form of government is a very progressive form but to function properly, the city manager must be allowed to manage the city without daily interference from the council or mayor, whose responsibility by law is to provide policy direction only. I pledge to use my influence to set sound policy, holding the city manager ultimately responsible for instituting those policies.

My wife and I moved to Picayune 29 years ago, soon after graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi and raised our two sons, Seth and Nolan, both of whom graduated from PMHS. I worked in management for several operating contractors at the Mississippi Army Ammunition Plant for 27 years. My primary experience is in the areas of environmental, utilities and economic development. I am now self employed as a contractor and real-estate investor. My wife Marilyn is a clinical social worker in private practice specializing in counseling children. Marilyn and I are members of the First Baptist Church of Picayune.

We have all chosen to in live in a small town like Picayune because of the quality of life afforded and the sense of community. I can think of no other place my wife and I would want to live. I believe the potential exists for us to make Picayune an even better place if we come together as a community. I sincerely believe we can take the city in a different direction and reach our full potential. I am committed to making Picayune the very best it can be and I ask for your support and vote in the May 5, Republican primary.