HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg residents filled the Jackie Dole Sherrill Community Center in Hattiesburg Thursday to address their concerns with city leaders during a town hall meeting.
A number of issues were discussed ranging from code enforcement, the city's water and sewer system as well as the financial crisis at the Hattiesburg Public School District.
The debate was moderated by the Council of Neighborhood Boards. Mayor Johnny Dupree and four city council members were in attendance to answer questions.
In response to a question about the financial woes at the Hattiesburg Public School District, Mayor Johnny Dupe said the school system cannot be politicized.
"If we have to get involved, we don't need school board members, you don't need a Superintendent. We'll just go over there and run it," Mayor Dupree said.
Mayor Dupree said nothing illegal happened at school district.
"It was spending more than you had that's what happened," Mayor Dupree explained.
Councilman Carter Carol disagreed with that notion, and said misspending millions of dollars is no accident.
"If you write checks that you don't' have money in your checking account that is against the law," Councilman Carol added.
Council President Kim Bradley said having school board members who focus on accountability will prevent another crisis. He feels that newly appointed member Eric Steele is the right man for the job.
"I think that he's going to ask the questions that need to be asked," Bradley said.