Council members file lawsuit against Hattiesburg mayor

Council members file lawsuit against Hattiesburg mayor

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree has been sued by City Council President Kim Bradley and council member Carter Carroll for failure to bring forward city appointments in a timely manner.

"This is the only avenue we had," Bradley said of the suit.

Bradley and Carroll filed an official complaint against the mayor earlier this month, which allowed the mayor one week to bring forward his appointments. When the mayor did not do that, the two council members filed the lawsuit.

"He just wants to play games, and he wants to do what he wants to do," said Bradley of DuPree. "The people that lose here are the citizens."

DuPree responded to the complaint in a letter to Bradley and Carroll's attorney, Robert Gholson. The letter stated that he had appointments ready to present to the council for approval, however he said Bradley would not accept just one, rather he wanted every remaining appointment. The mayor has only gotten approval for five of 17 appointments.

Several of the mayor's current department heads- and those expected to seek reappointment- were highlighted in the controversial Hattiesburg mayoral election in 2013, including police chief, city clerk, city attorney and municipal court appointments.

A similar situation with the mayor's appointments in 2006 was resolved with a ruling from the Mississippi Supreme Court that ordered the mayor to immediately bring forward his department heads for approval. According to the most recent lawsuit, the mayor must bring forward appointments at the beginning of each new term. DuPree was elected to his current term 17 months ago in June 2013.

DuPree declined to comment on the current lawsuit.

A court date has not yet been set in this case.