HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - No votes were held Tuesday night by the Hattiesburg City Council in a meeting that was recessed after five minutes due to a disruptive crowd.
It is the second straight meeting to end without addressing agenda items. Monday's agenda setting was also adjourned after area ministers refused to step down from the podium when the meeting was called to order, because they demanded the council listen to their concerns regarding a discontinued Citizens Forum.
"We'll try to come back sometime this week and have a called meeting," said council president Kim Bradley.
According to Bradley, if the meeting does not happen before the next regularly scheduled agenda setting, city employees will not receive their pay checks because the claims docket was not approved this week.
Other items on the agenda included a resolution on unsafe properties, an amendment to add Mayor Johnny DuPree's appointment for city clerk and a hearing on a zoning issue on Bay Street in downtown Hattiesburg.
"I am bothered by that," said Bradley of the past two unproductive days. "Like all businesses, you have to meet your obligations, you have to pay your bills."
Although the crowd, which arrived at City Hall as early as 4 p.m. Tuesday, was instructed by ministers in attendance not to speak during the meeting, one minister refused to step down from the podium when the meeting was called to order. A motion was made by Ward 2 Councilwoman Deborah Delgado to allow the crowd 10 minutes to address the council prior to voting on other items, but the motion failed due to lack of majority. Ward 4 Councilwoman Mary Dryden abstained, Ward 3 Councilman Carter Carroll and Bradley voted against the motion and Delgado and Ward 5 Councilman Henry Naylor were the only votes in favor.
Bradley and Carroll both said they would allow the 10 minutes afterward, however, the motion's language was not revised.
"I'm in the long haul, my colleagues are in the long haul, and we'll just do what we have to do," said the pastor of Mount Olive Church on Country Club Road.
Bradley sent an e-mail (see picture at right) to DuPree and the Hattiesburg Police Department Command Staff Tuesday morning, asking for assistance in seeing that the meeting "is allowed to occur without disruption from citizens in attendance," specifically if asked by Bradley during the meeting.
Bradley said the mayor responded to the e-mail through a phone call, where he said law enforcement instead needed to be patrolling the streets.
There were around four more officers than usual at Tuesday's meeting, although they remained in the hallway, other than Lt. Jon Traxler. No assistance was requested, and had it been, the police are only required to respond to the mayor's request.
No specially called meeting has been scheduled.