Mayor DuPree responds to Atty. General's verbal opinion
Last Tuesday, Hattiesburg City Council president Kim Bradley received a phone call from Attorney General Jim Hood's office. Bradley told us that the attorney general's office gave a verbal opinion urging Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree to name three new election commissioners to replace three holdovers for mayor.
Bradley received a verbal opinion from the attorney general's office, but that opinion is still not in writing from Attorney General Jim Hood. Earlier today, Mayor DuPree proclaimed the week of August 12- August 16, 2013 as the 2013 USTA mixed doubles championship tennis week at Tatum Park. When the proclamation ceremony ended, 7 on Your Side asked him to state his remarks about the verbal opinion from the attorney general's office about who should oversee the upcoming special election for mayor.
"Even the plaintiff (election challenger and mayoral candidate, Dave Ware) released the election commission from the court battle, because they did nothing wrong. They're volunteers, they come out, they love Hattiesburg, and want to make sure they have a clear, fair and transparent election," DuPree said.
He added that the majority of the Hattiesburg City Council did not vote for holdovers to oversee the upcoming election.
The mayor has yet to see Attorney General Hood's new opinion on paper.
"I have not received anything. I haven't even received a copy of anything from the attorney general," DuPree said.
Mayor DuPree acknowledged the long road leading up to the September 24 special election.
"Whatever we do, we need to resolve this issue. That will be a main consideration of ours," DuPree said.
Viewers weighed in on Facebook about what they think should be done. The first writer commented, "Common sense would say '"yes,"' because there were too many improprieties in the prior election, as confirmed by the court ruling authorizing a new election."
Another writer commented, "Too many mistakes were made, and too much is at stake for the future of Hattiesburg. This election should be separate than other than what counts most, us, the voters, and our voice in who we want taking us into the future."
7 on Your Side expects to have a hard copy of the new opinion by the end of the week. Today, Mayor DuPree said that the three holdover election commissioners from the June 4 Hattiesburg mayoral election will oversee the September 24 special election until further notice.