Councilman questions landscape work

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Tuesday night’s city council meeting got interesting when Ward 5 City Councilman Weston Lindemann raised questions about landscape work that was done near the MAX. He says the work was not done by a licensed landscaper.

“It has led to trees that are dying and flowers that are already dead. It's probably in large part due to the fact that the city's landscape architect and licensed arborist has not been involved in the process," Lindemann says.

CAO Richie McCalister says he did the work along with the Assistant to the Mayor, Justin Campbell, other employees along with county inmates did the landscaping work. In the meeting Campbell shows Lindemann a document he says is his license.

After the meeting Lindemann told Newscenter 11 he’s not so sure about that license.

“In fact, I did check with the bureau of plant industry this morning and that employee did not have the qualifications that was presented at the council meeting tonight,” Lindemann says.

McCalister says Campbell had his own landscaping business and was also a licensed horticulturalist.

Mayor Percy Bland says Lindemann needs to take his concerns through the correct process.

“This is the second or third time he has communicated to employees either mid-level or higher on issues that should not be communicated to them at all,” Bland says.

He his administration went the route they did to save money for tax payers.

“We are trying to find the most cost effective way to make our downtown look beautiful and utilization of our current people that we have and inmates is something we have done to get that job done,” Bland says.

The discussion between McCalister and Lindemann ended with McCalister asking the question of how Lindemann got the names of those who did the work.

Lindemann: “I took a wild guess.”

McAlister: “You took a wild guess?”

Lindemann: “Yes. And oddly enough my guess was right that you would present Mr. Campbell as the licensed horticulturist.”

McAlister: “You should gamble, I guess. That’s impressive.”

Lindemann: “It is impressive. Thank you for that.”