DuPree asks for lawsuit dismissal after council rejects final appointment nominees

DuPree asks for lawsuit dismissal after council rejects final appointment nominees

FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree, who was represented by city attorney Charles Lawrence, asked for a lawsuit to be dismissed Monday in Forrest County Circuit Court by special appointed Judge Breland Hilburn.

The suit was filed by City Council President Kim Bradley (Ward 1) and Ward 3 councilman Carter Carroll due to the mayor's failure to present his nominees for department head appointments to the city council.

Lawrence argued the issue is moot now that the mayor has brought forward nominees for all 17 positions since his swearing in in October 2013, although five of those have been rejected by the council.

"The fact that the council chose not to vote on some of the positions, that's like asking for something, but then impeding the process as well," said Lawrence of the council's failure to vote due to lack of motion at last Tuesday's council meeting.

Carroll and Bradley's attorney, Robert Gholson of Laurel, said those five positions are now considered vacant, according to a state attorney general's opinion, and the timeliness of the mayor's nominee submissions is still an issue in this case.

However, Lawrence said even though it has been over a year since the mayor's period of submissions could begin, "he's not the only mayor that has taken over a year with regards to nominating appointments."

"It's more of the games he's playing, trying to manipulate the outcome to get it the way that he wants it," said Bradley of the mayor's argument Monday. "He's had more than enough time."

Judge Hilburn, who is a retired Hinds County circuit judge, has ten days to submit an order on this case.