Mayor, Council Still at Odds over Civil Service

Meridian, Miss. Members of the Meridian City Council and Mayor Percy Bland are still at odds over who will have appointing power at Monday night's hearing for four civil service commissioners who have been removed from their positions.

City attorney Michael Goggans says he has been in discussions with both the mayor and the City Council to determine who, in fact, has the appointing power. However, no agreement has been reached. The mayor says he is still anticipating being in charge of those hearings on Monday.

"Our city attorney for both the city and the mayor, stated clearly that the appointing authority of the city is the mayor," Mayor Bland says.

But the council argues that Mayor Bland's decisions are not definite until the council members give their consent, as well.

"Under our mayor-council form of government, the mayor makes appointment, but the appointments are not valid unless the council confirms those individuals," Councilman Dustin Markham says.

The city's attorney does say both the mayor and the city council are in agreement that the law should be followed. The problem right now is determine which law applies to this matter.

"It doesn't seem right to me that the person that relieves you of your position is the person you must then go to for a hearing," Councilman George Thomas says. "That may be the law and that's what we're asking last night. Clarify that for us."

City Attorney Michael Goggans says if the mayor and City Council do not reach an agreement over the weekend, Monday night's civil service hearing will likely be delayed. The attorney for the Civil Service Commission, Henry Palmer, tells Newscenter 11 if there's no hearing for commissioners Monday night, it's possible the Civil Service Commission will hold the already-scheduled hearing for former meridian police officer Don Hopkins as usual Tuesday night.