The Meridian City Council struck down the mayor's veto this morning, once again voting four to one in favor of keeping Fox/Everett as the city's healthcare provider.
"I think the company that I put forward, United Healthcare, was the best company," said Meridian Mayor Percy Bland. "I addressed a lot of other issues so the people can understand really how much $300,000 can do for the citizens of this city."
The mayor brought in a spokesman from United Healthcare to vouch for how quickly they could transition if that's what they wanted to do, but this wasn't a decision that was well met by all of the Council.
"We've had budget hearings; we've invited the insurance companies to come and speak," said Ward 1 Councilman Dr. George Thomas. "We've had four different occasions where the people have had an opportunity to speak."
The meeting quickly became heated, and afterward, a small group of people came forward to express their disapproval of Thomas's declaration.
"I'm going to put some boots on the ground. We're going to get out there and rise up against the City Council," said Johnnie Delk, a Meridian resident in the crowd. "If I have to do picket, whatever we have to do to get Meridian moving forward. We are desperate."
The council said the crowd's anger was sparked from a lack of understanding that they could only discuss the mayor's veto and nothing more.
"You cannot discuss another insurance company at this meeting. The only thing we could do legally at this meeting was discuss the mayor's veto and take action on that," Thomas explained. "Even if the Council wanted to pick another insurance company, legally we could not do it at this meeting. And I think that's what frustrated a lot of the people, they didn't understand the purpose of the meeting."
Fox/Everett will remain in place as the city's healthcare provider. There will be no more discussion on the matter until next year.