DuPree to council: "You don't have the authority to appoint."

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Only two mayoral appointments for the City of Hattiesburg have been presented to the city council by Mayor Johnny DuPree, and they have been denied by the council.

Those appointments are for the convention center commission in which Mayor DuPree appointed Jeff Hammond and Roger McDowell to replace current board members Lewis Myrick and Bud Kirkpatrick. The council did not approve this appointment in January, and Mayor DuPree said they do not have the authority to keep the current board members in their positions after their terms have expired.

"The people that serve on the convention commission do serve until I bring a successor to them," said DuPree. "Simply because you want to keep the same people on doesn't give them the authority to say, 'Well, we're going to let you stay on.' They don't have the authority. There's not a statutory authority for that."

Council president Kim Bradley said the council will seek the attorney general's opinion on this matter. As for when the other appointments will be presented, Bradley said the council is waiting on the mayor.

"We interviewed the people that he brought to us in January," said Bradley. "We've been through that second meeting in January, and now we're at the first meeting in February, and they're not on the agenda. I do not know what the mayor's plan is now. I guess our program has changed, but I don't know what the new timeline is."

This is not the first time the mayor has delayed his appointments. In 2006 it was not until the Supreme Court made a ruling that the city saw movement for the mayor's appointments. When asked about his timeline for presenting his appointments this go-round, the mayor had no comment.

In other business at Monday's work session, Councilwoman Deborah Delgado proposed the council reinstate the citizens forum, which was put on a minimum 90-day hold in November.

"We work for the people," said Delgado. "The people have a right to have a forum to come before us and address us about whatever it is that they choose to."

No discussion was held after her comments and Bradley said after the meeting that although the forum has passed its minimum 90-day break, its reinstatement will not come up for discussion just yet.

Delgado also said she received an apology via e-mail from Councilman Carter Carroll for calling her a bitch in last month's meeting.

"Respect is not compromised because I differ with you on an issue," said Delgado.

When WDAM asked Carroll that night if he made those comments, he said, "Why would I admit to something I didn't say?"

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