Meridian, Miss. The debate over who has the authority to hold the hearing over the Civil Service Commissioners has finally been settled. The Mississippi Attorney General's official opinion is that both the mayor and the City Council have the appointing power. And both should participate in the hearing to determine whether those four commissioners will be removed from office.
The opinion states that at the end of the hearing, the mayor may act to remove the civil service commissioners if there's good cause, but as you can see here, if the Council does not agree, then those commissioners will remain in office.
The Civil Service Commission's hearing was set for Monday, but due to the timing of receiving this opinion, Meridian City Attorney Michael Goggans says it's best to reschedule that hearing.
In the meantime, both the City Council and the mayor will have to take a step back and learn about what their roles will be throughout this hearing as soon as possible.
Goggans was not available to talk on camera Saturday, but he told Newscenter 11 over the phone that he believes this hearing will be set up as a parallel of the appointment process. In this situation, the mayor will nominate a hearing officer (prosecutor) that must be approved by majority of council. The mayor and council members will all sit at the hearing. Mayor Bland makes the first determination of whether there is good reason to remove the commissioners. If he votes to remove, then the majority of the council must agree.
The Commission will hold it's regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday. And Goggans says he's recommended that the city have this hearing completed prior to the Commission's next meeting in April.