On Thursday, October 5th, 2023, the Ocean Springs Fire Department (OSFD) administration learned that funds from an account owned by the Ocean Springs Firefighters Association (OSFA) were embezzled by an employee of the Fire Department. After reviewing financial institution records and the employee’s admission of misspending, Fire Chief Derek McCoy placed the employee on administrative leave with pay pending a disciplinary hearing at a Special Call meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen on Tuesday, October 10, 2023.
The funds in question are not considered public/tax-payer funds but are the result of various fundraisers held by the OSFA through generous donations made by the community. The employee served as the association’s treasurer which provided him direct access to the association’s funds.
Chief McCoy contacted the Ocean Springs Police Department and provided all documentation involving this matter for a formal criminal investigation to be conducted. McCoy recommended the employee’s termination to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen. The Board approved the request for termination effective immediately.
“My purpose as the Chief is to ensure that my personnel are equipped to serve the public mentally and physically. We take great pride and work hard to ensure this department fosters a safe and trusting environment,” said McCoy.
“We are a team both professionally and personally. It is most bothersome for me that this former employee chose to forego the opportunity to ask for help from his OSFD family who trusted and respected him but rather he chose to betray all of us by making a repetitive conscious decision to steal. His behavior and apparent lack of judgment do not meet the standards that I, his former co-workers, or this community deserve and will not be tolerated.”
On Wednesday, October 11th, 2023, the employee was arrested by the Ocean Springs Police Department and charged with embezzlement