Councilman seeks to launch an investigation

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Newscenter first reported Thursday about Meridian's Parks and Recreation Director being placed on administrative leave. In light of this development with Kelvin McGruder, one public official says it's time for the city council to launch its own investigation into how some city business is being handled.

"There are a lot of unusual things happening at City Hall, so it's time to get some answers," says Ward 5 Councilman Weston Lindemann. That's why he says he's reaching out to the city's attorneys to find out what needs to be done so that the city council can vote on whether or not to launch an investigation into some city matters.

"From what the attorneys have advised us previously at a prior council meeting," says Lindemann, "the council as a whole has investigative authority over the city where we can ask employees or department heads to testify. I think when we consider the high amount of turnover that there has been within the administration, and throughout the city, as well as some other questions that have been raised that haven't really been answered yet, I think maybe the scope of any sort of investigation would be yet to be determined."

"If there is something that the council feels that they do need to look into that is part of their role as council persons as a group," says Mayor Percy Bland, "I have no issue with that. What I continue to talk to Councilman Lindemann and to you guys about is that it seems that he wants to go into the role of the mayor, and that's not his duty as a council person. If he does want to become the mayor or challenge the mayor we look forward to that day, but as for today Percy Bland is the mayor of the City of Meridian, and it's my duty to govern and deal with day-to-day issues of the city and that's what we'll continue to do."

"I don't know where this keeps coming from that we don't have that authority," says Lindemann, "or that by some way we're overstepping our duties into the executive by asking questions. We have complete authority collectively to conduct an investigation, and as individual council members we have the authority to ask city employees questions. We just can't order them to do anything. We have a duty to the people who elected us into office to hold each other accountable. It's a system of checks and balances."

Because some of the concerns could involve personnel issues, Lindemann says he cannot tell us specific information about the issues right now. However, he feels confident that the majority of the council will support an investigation into how some city affairs are being handled.

The council's next meeting is set for Tuesday morning, June 5th, at 9.