Still no vote for HPD Chief nominee, tabled until July

Still no vote for HPD Chief nominee, tabled until July
Anthony Parker meets with council members

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - It will be a little bit longer until we know who will lead the Hattiesburg Police Department.

The city council decided to delay the vote on nominee Anthony Parker, who currently serves as the police chief in Crystal Springs, until the first meeting in July.

On Tuesday afternoon, Anthony Parker met with Mayor Johnny DuPree and city council members during a special called meeting for an interview.

After the meeting, Parker and DuPree left, and DuPree did not attend the council meeting.

When the agenda item was brought up in the meeting, City Council President Kim Bradley addressed the room.

"We discussed this with (Parker)," Bradley said. "The fact that we were meeting one hour before we were to vote, and we did not want to put him in any embarrassing moment, or any council member or for the mayor for that matter. We wanted some time to digest what we heard."

Bradley had hopes of returning later in the week to a special called meeting to vote on Parker. But, a vote to table the issue died from a 2-2-1 tie.

Councilwoman Mary Dryden made a motion to postpone it until the next meeting, which takes place in July.

"One of the things that I think we need to consider here is we already have a police chief that we are paying, and if this process goes too quick, we are paying two police chiefs at the same time," Dryden said. "I think we need to be able to talk about how that would look and what the time table would be."

Councilwoman Deborah Delgado interjected with "(Frazier Bolton) is not functioning as police chief, and that's at the discretion of the mayor."

Bradley and Dryden replied with "(DuPree) said after the recent trial that he was the police chief."

"We don't have a functioning police chief," Delgado said. "I thought you all entered into an agreement where (Bolton) would be the commissioner for public safety, which included police and fire, I don't see that happening at all," Delgado said.

"Because it never happened, the mayor didn't follow through on that," Bradley said.

Councilman Henry Naylor quickly brought the discussion under control and moved on to second Dryden's motion to table the vote until July, which passed 4-1.

Despite the controversy of who actually is the chief, the council members spoke highly of Parker.

"I am very impressed with him," Bradley said. "The people that I know that know him say he is (a) person that can come in and be a calming factor to the situation that is here in Hattiesburg. We have so many issues and he feels that God has called him here."