Debate over the city of Meridian CAO position continues at council meeting

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - It is apparent. Many city council members in Meridian want Chief Administrative Officer Richie McAlister gone.

Intimidation tactics, lack of transparency and mismanagement. Those are just some of the things mentioned at the meeting. They've already voted to set his pay at zero dollars. That was vetoed by the mayor. Tuesday night, the council tried to override that veto, but was unsuccessful.

McAlister will maintain his position following Tuesday's meeting. At a previous meeting, the council voted to remove the salary from the CAO position, entirely. Mayor Percy Bland vetoed the vote. Despite the council's best efforts to override the veto, the attempt failed.

"In my time on the council there have been so many issues with this CAO, like projects not done right, good employees that have been with the city for a long time, who are no longer here or have been moved out of the way to get things done that normally a good employee wouldn't approve of,” says Ward 5 Councilman Weston Lindemann.

Along with Councilman Lindemann, other members of the council expressed their disapproval in McAlister's time as the city CAO.

Immediately after the override failed in a 3-2 vote, Lindemann motioned to open an investigation into CAO McAlister.

"Now the only other thing we can really do is to launch that investigation and make sure the CAO can't interfere with the investigation as long as it goes on, but in the meantime he will still be the CAO,” says Councilman Lindemann.

Mayor Bland says after all the back and forth, he hopes to move forward now.

"I’m glad we had the process play out and as I indicated to the council, we're going to work together. The council members will communicate with the mayor and the mayor will lead and direct my CAO and other department heads and we're going to continue to get things done in this city,” says Mayor Bland.

Councilman Lindemann wanted to vote on opening an investigation even though it wasn't clear if one would be legal for the council to do.

No vote was made and the issue will be taken up at a later date.