Hattiesburg Mayor, City Council working to revamp court system - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Hattiesburg Mayor, City Council working to revamp court system

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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

Mayor Johnny Dupree and the Hattiesburg City Council may now be on the same page concerning revamping the city's court system.

In a letter to Mayor Johnny Dupree posted on Councilman Dave Ware's website, city officials called for the court to be established as a city department, all suspended personnel be removed, two director level employees with salaries determined by the council, 4-5 deputy court administrators, a part-time prosecutor, a part-time public defender, and assistant/paralegal for public defender, and a part-time judge pro tem. The recommendation also calls for the court administrator to be responsible for job descriptions, assessing current employees, and hiring.

Ware says the recommendations are similar to what 12 other cities in the southeast are doing.

The letter says while any system is only as good as the integrity of the individuals, the changes will allow a path towards restoring the people's faith in the city court system.

Mayor DuPree says it's a cooperative effort to make the city better for its citizens.

"Ninety percent of their recommendations are things that we are already implemented or are in the process of implementing already, which I think is a good thing," said DuPree. "So, I think the president and I sitting down was a real good meeting of the minds; things that they thought they needed or wanted based on their investigation were things we are already doing."