Vote could prevent clerk’s pay


The mayor and Philadelphia aldermen remained bitterly divided over the employment status of a municipal court clerk who was terminated in August by a majority vote as they continue to await a ruling by the state Attorney General.

The claims docket, usually a routine part of the agenda, brought on a heated discussion last week.

Three members of the board have voted to terminate and/or suspend the clerk without pay indefinitely. 

Mayor James A. Young voice vetoed the termination and whether that is proper has the issue before the state Attorney General to settle the argument.           

Meanwhile, the clerk, Marilyn Jackson, has continued to work.

When the claims docket came up last Tuesday, aldermen Joe Tullos, Jim Fulton and Ronnie Jenkins said they would not vote for the claims docket if it meant paying Jackson. 

They said Jackson should not be paid because she had been terminated by board action. That is in the official minutes of the August meeting. They believe to do so would be misspending public monies and anyone who votes to pay her could be personally responsible for paying the money back.

After some discussion, it was agreed the motion to pay Jackson would be handled separately. The aldermen voted to pay the rest of the claims docket.

When the vote came on Jackson’s pay, it was a 3-2 vote not to pay her. Aldermen Leroy Clemons of Cassie Henson voted in favor.

Mayor James Young said he would veto the motion separate Jackson from the claims docket vote.

“Mayor, you need you stop acting like children up here,” City Attorney Robert Thomas said. “All you are going to do is make them rescind their vote on the claims docket.”

Henson and Thomas began speaking at the same time. Thomas said the mayor did not issue the veto concerning Jackson’s termination in a timely manner, and the matter of whether she is still employed is mute.

“Mr. Thomas, it is obvious that whatever the rigmarole y’all have going on, it is really becoming annoying,” Henson said. “We are going back and forth like children. At the beginning of the day, we still don’t have any real reason to get rid of this lady.

“Everybody up here, it’s like a personal issue. It’s not about what’s right or wrong. We have no evidence she did anything wrong. It’s back to that. And now you don’t want to pay her. This woman’s livelihood is at stake and no one has any proof.”

Henson and Clemons brought up a wide range of questions involving other city employees, things that were said in executive session and what has been written in The Neshoba Democrat.

“If we are going to fire folks over mismanagement, we need to fire a whole bunch of folks,” said Clemons. “I am sick and tired of these games. We are here to manage the city’s affairs. You do not have the votes to override the mayor’s veto.”

Mayor Young said “all of this apparently is going to have to happen in another venue. Let’s stick with the business moving forward and let’s do what we can do to rectify this misjustice we have just discussed.”   

In other matters, the board voted to:

• Approve an order to accept a bid from Gilmer Electric to replace a light pole on the court square that was damaged. The bid was for $3,850;

• Continue the public hearing on the house at 510 Holland Ave until the next meeting;

• Approve a request to rezone a lot at 576 East Main Street from R1 to C2. There was no opposition;

• Approve a request to rezone a lot on Highway 16 west from R1 to C3. There was no opposition;

• Approve a road bore request along Main to 912 for Cspire;

• Approve a street closing from Walnut Street to Main from October 21-31. This is done for the renovation work to begin for the Ellis Theater;

• Accept $2,856 for the Police Department from Hometown Publishing;

• Accept the resignation of Brandon Pope and Cole Beason from the police department. Aldermen also approved the hiring of Jessie Hamilton as a staff sergeant for the police department at the salary of $17.02 per hour; and the promotions of Scottie Dorman and David Brackett to staff sergeant at the salary of $17.02 per hour;

• Approve the financing of a Dodge Durango for the Police Department on a three-year note;

• Approve a request to allow Fire Chief Pierce Clark to travel to Petal Oct. 13-16 for a task force logistics meeting;

• Approve the resignation of firefighter Damien Seales and Dusty Stephens. Aldermen also approved the hiring of Anna Ard as a probationary firefighter at $9.74 per hour; and the promotion of Darnell Dawkins to captain at $12.63 per hour.

• Nathan Wells of Pathway discussed a plan to replace all of the streetlights in town. 

• Patrick Johnson of PCJ Consultants Inc. in Houston, Texas, informed the board that his company was looking for land to build affordable homes in Philadelphia.

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