Hattiesburg city council waits on mayor's appointments four months after inauguration

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Four months after Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree was sworn in to office, the city council has still not received his appointments for department directors.

Council president Kim Bradley said the council interviewed the mayor's appointments in January, but no other movement has been made.

"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," said Bradley on Monday. "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."

Just a short time after the mayor's October inauguration, he submitted a letter to Attorney General Jim Hood asking for clarification regarding the appointments of department directors who are currently serving in a hold-over position. The attorney general responded on November 15 with the following statement: "In the event that the city council rejects, or otherwise does not confirm, the reappointment of an individual that is serving in a holdover capacity, that particular individual may not continue to serve in such capacity and the position is considered vacant."

Three months after the mayor received an answer from the attorney general, the city council has not been presented with any of the mayor's seventeen appointments.

After asking the mayor on two separate occasions this week when he expects to present his appointments, he could not give an answer.

This is not the first time the mayor has sought the attorney general's opinion on this matter. In an opinion addressed to the mayor on February 24, 2006, the attorney general said appointments "should be made within a reasonable time after the beginning of the new term." The attorney general tells WDAM there is no legal definition of "reasonable time," it depends on the facts and circumstances of each case.

However according to the Supreme Court's ruling in 2006, when the mayor and the council found themselves in a very similar situation, when the council requests the appointments be presented, the mayor must respond.

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