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Showing posts from July, 2011

NNO 2011

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August 2 is National Night Out Against Crime. Laurel and Hattiesburg has been on the news giving details of their plans for the event. Since there has been so much change taking place at the Lumberton Police Department, I wonder if Dennis Hobson will host a NNO in the City of Lumberton. If he's truly interested in repairing his "tainted" reputation, he might want to take this opportunity to team up with the Lumberton Library and have small cook-out or something so he could introduce himself to the children in the community. If memory serves me correctly, we've only had one NNO event in the City of Lumberton and it was held years ago. Surely, the board of aldermen will give Hobson a purchase order to buy some chips, sodas, hot dogs and burgers for this event. NNO has proven to be an effective, inexpensive and enjoyable program to promote spirit and police-community partnerships. Plus, the benefits a community will derive from NNO will most certainly extend well beyond…

Water Woes: Part Two

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On Friday, July 22, 2011, I blogged about water bill issues and asked residents to e-mail me their complaints about their water bills and/or billing issues. I didn't receive an overwhelming response, but of the 42 complaints/concerns I did receive, most were from residents of Ward 4--Timothy Johnson's territory. The residents in that area are particularly peeved with their representation or lack thereof. I found it interesting that an area that has both a District 2 Supervisor (Ben Winston) and an aldermen living in their community would have residents that feel that their voices are not being heard. The water bill issue is nothing new and for the most part it's indicative of the lack of leadership on display in the clerk's office. Unfortunately, we have a city clerk that does not want to submit to a system of checks and balances. The WSOM (Water and Sewer Operation and Maintenance) account has lost $86,770 but Alderman Rogers is the only alderman that sees this as a p…

Injunction Junction What's Your Function?

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It's been a week since the board of aldermen went into executive session to order Lindsey Carter, acting city attorney, to file an injunction against the Lumberton Informer on behalf of city clerk, Stephanie Mullings. I haven't received my letter or notice to appear. Maybe they will give me the notice at the next board meeting, which is Tuesday, August 2, 2011. While I'm waiting for the paperwork, I thought I would share some information regarding injunctions. Injunctions are orders of a court of competent jurisdiction commanding an individual, business entity, or government agency to do or stop doing something. Injunctions invoke what is called the equitable powers of the court and, as such, those seeking an injunction must come to court with “clean hands”.(Now, that's going to be a problem for the City of Lumberton. I can't wait to defend this blog in a court of law because I will get the opportunity to get information about cancelled insurance, deficiencies i…

Water Woes

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There has got to be a better way. We can no longer allow this city to hold us hostage. Over the last few days, some people have voiced their concerns about how the City of Lumberton's water department is the epicenter of non-professionalism. Clerks are always on their cell phones and for some reason; citizens are not getting their water bills in a timely fashion and are still expected to pay late fees. Whenever I pay my bill, I usually interact with Sue and I have never seen her on a cell phone, but one time, Stephanie took my water bill payment; she wasn't on her cell phone, but I noticed that my receipt stated that the bill was received by Sue. Why did the board of aldermen purchase two cash drawers if the clerks are still using money from just one register? Another issue I have with the water department is the deposit of the checks. Generally, I pay the water bill on either the first or third of the month, but for some reason, it takes anywhere from 15-21 days for the check…

Budget Planning 101

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If you've been watching the news, you noticed that all of the cities in this area have made some drastic cuts to their budgets. The cities of Hattiesburg, Laurel, Petal, Poplarville, Purvis, Columbia and Wiggins announced that they will not have any pay raises during FY (fiscal year) 2012 and they will be limiting all overtime pay, but the City of Lumberton has a different approach to budget planning. Clearly, Hattiesburg, Laurel, Petal, Poplarville, Purvis and Columbia has several revenue generating businesses within their city limits, but they still found it necessary to stop pay raises and overtime pay. But the City of Lumberton is including an $8,000 pay raise for Stephanie Mullings and Dennis Hobson in the 2012 budget. How are they planning on paying for these two increases in salary? At the last meeting, Kent Crider suggested that the City of Lumberton look into raising the fee for services like background checks, fingerprinting and notary. Currently, the City of Lumberton c…

Idiots, Ignorance and Injunctions

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Yesterday, I informed you about Hobson's plan to bring on the rejects, but I was off on the proposed date of hire. I thought they would wait until the next regularly scheduled board meeting, but the board hired four new police officers last night: two full-time and two part-time officers. Since it was a special called meeting, I thought their names and rate of pay was supposed to be posted on the agenda, but they board made the decision to hire these officers during executive session. At last night's special called meeting, the board hired Robert Jones to clean the nasty floors at city hall for $1,200. Kudos to Robert, but how did this get on the agenda. Bobby Gibson recused himself at other meetings because of a $15.00 water bill adjustment for a family member, but stayed for the order to pay his brother-in-law $1,200 to clean the floors and carpeting at city hall. The board went over the budget and personnel policy, but the best part of the meeting was when the board emerged…

Lumberton's Chief of Slander

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I received an e-mail the other day asking me who would I like for Lumberton's next Chief of Police. The person went on to say that Dennis Hobson was doing a great job and how it's hard to get officers to come to this city (I guess we're all entitled to our own opinions.) For one thing, it is difficult to get good officers here in the City of Lumberton, but to fire six or more certified officers is not a way of getting good officers on the police force. Someone made a comment about the type of people that Hobson will bring into this city and it was a valid point; why would he bring in law-abiding officers when he's not willing to adhere to the law of the land. My sources said that he's not a certified officer; that he has paperwork showing that he completed training, but because of his "issues" while employed in Meridian, his certification has not been released. So, in the coming weeks, we should see what type of officers he will be bringing to our city. S…

It Takes Two to Tango. .Or So I Thought???

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I'm still having some issues with getting the auditor's report I requested, but I won't give up until I get my hands on a copy of the report. I really don't know what the big problem is. The other week when Paige Johnson wrapped up the meeting with the board, she handed Stephanie a stack of bonded reports. Therefore, it shouldn't have been an issue with getting me a copy of the auditor's report since you had at least seven bound copies at your fingertips. I started thinking about the things that are taking place at city hall and I was getting concerned about Sue. I wondered how all the things taking place were affecting her. Then I realized that Sue is not the one causing the friction at city hall. . her boss is. When push comes to shove, Sue has the assurance that everything move she made was instructed by the city clerk. There has been talk of money missing from the office, employees insurance being cancelled and a litany of other accusations, but when lookin…

Paper Chasing

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I was at city hall this morning at 9:00 a.m. to get a copy of the long-awaited auditor's report. I called yesterday to make sure that the reports would be available, and I was told that the reports would be ready Thursday, July 14, 2011. Well, when I get to city hall, I am told that the reports are not ready. I told them that it was printed in the Lamar Times reported the following: " the City of Lumberton hereby gives notice that its annual audited financial report for the year ended September 30, 2010 has been completed. Copies are available to the public at 102 E. Main Avenue." I don't know about you, but that seems to indicate that the copies are available, but that's not how it reads to those working at city hall. I put in a request for the report, but this is just another example of the work that's not getting done, but they are getting paid to sit in the office and do nothing. It seems that every time I try to get information from city hall, it require…

Chief Fortenberry Fired at Secret Meeting

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I take a few days off from blogging and I missed an entire meeting. I just found out that the board had a meeting, Tuesday, July 12, 2011. The board is one step closer to appointing Hobson as Chief of Police, especially since they terminated the employment of Chief Adrien Fortenberry. That's right. . Chief Fortenberry is no longer employed by the City of Lumberton. I called city hall to ask Stephanie Mullings about Tuesday's special called meeting and to my surprise, I was informed that she was gone to lunch. What???? At the last board meeting, when Rachel Jefferson presented the board with print-outs, showing that Stephanie Mullings is on facebook all day long, Stephanie told the audience that she didn't take lunch breaks; that she only took 10-15 minute breaks throughout the day. But that's neither here nor there since they (Gibson, Crider, Hale and Johnson) is aware that our clerk is a liar. OAN: I found out that Alderman Quincy Rogers was not notified of the specia…

What Have You Done For Lumberton Lately?

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I was looking through some old articles from the Lamar Times. In 2008, Dana Gower was covering the Jack McMullan petition drive like the Casey Anthony trail. I guess everyone in Lumberton knows that petitions don't work. There may be some obscure laws still on the books, but the only way to get rid of an ineffective elected official is to vote them out of office. After reading the old clippings, I noticed that there were a lot of references to the fact that the votes were always 3-2 with Miriam Holder, Alderwoman at Large, Quincy Rogers, Alderman of Ward 3 and Terry Cannaday, Alderman of Ward 4 voting together and Nell Busby, Alderwoman of Ward 1 and Stanley Rayborn, Alderman of Ward 2 voting together. The articles detailed how nothing was accomplished and what started out as a petition to get rid of Holder, Rogers and Cannaday was later amended to include Busby and Rayborn. Looking back, it's ironic that Holder, Rogers and Cannaday were being blamed for halting progress. Now …

City Without A Plan

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I received a call yesterday from someone claiming that they represent Kirkland Enterprises. I vaguely remembered a Kirkland Enterprise when I was on the planning and zoning committee, but this guy's voice didn't sound familiar and he would not give a direct answer when I asked him to repeat his name. He asked a few questions and they were all about the planning and zoning committee. Years ago, there was a Kirkland that owned some property on Lower Airport Road and he wanted to establish a trailer park (manufactured home) on his property. At the time his request was made, the City of Lumberton was preparing to establish a comprehensive plan and there was a moratorium placed on bringing trailers into the city limits of Lumberton. After a lot of time and money ($35,000) the City of Lumberton adopted a comprehensive plan and Lower Airport Road was designated as Agricultural-Residential. But now there's a problem. Since Ben Winston didn't want to pay a fine for the storage …

Recap of July 5, 2011 Board Meeting

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The aldermen didn't want to hear citizen's comments so it was moved to the bottom of the agenda. Betty Ford, LPN, addressed the board and expressed interst in getting a lease for the Lumberton Hospital in order to house an assisted living facility for handicapped patients. Ford said that she was aware of the amount of work needed to restore the building and she wanted to get a long term lease. The board said they would talk with the city's attorney to work on an agreement so that Ford could get contractor's into the building to gather information and provide estimates on the work needed to restore the building. Next on the agenda, Rachel Jefferson addressed the board about her arrest after asking the clerk about the delay in dispersement of her child support payments. Shortly after Jefferson started to speak, Bobby Gibson told her to "hurry up and get to the point." Jefferson was giving the details of what transpired, but the majority of the board (Gibson,…

Fifth of July Fireworks

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Yesterday was the fourth, but the real fireworks in Lumberton will happen tonight at city hall. Hopefully, they will be able to offer us some clarity on what was reported on WDAM. Last week, Gibson, Crider and Hale decided to terminate Cassandra and Franklin based on the recommendation of Dennis Hobson. I still don't understand how they can terminate anyone based on the recommendation of a interim chief; especially when the actual cheif is still the chief. The news reported that Dennis was selected to serve as interim chief, but after the special called meeting, Bobby Gibson stated that Hobson was promoted to captain; so the board is terminating certified police officers based on the recommendation of the interim chief or captain? Daren Dennis Hobson stated on News 7 that the opposition towards him is based on race. It's not a matter of race, it's a matter of reputation. Dennis Hobson lied on his job application when he applied for work at the City of Lumberton, he was a…

Lumberton Police Department Loses It's Certification

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There has been a lot of political wrangling to make sure that Darren Dennis Hobson is in control of the Lumberton Police Department. The aldermen are so focused on making sure they have control over the police department that they forget that the Lumberton Police Department lost it's certification at midnight on June 30, 2011. Certified officers are required to continue training to keep their certification, but the board has refused, for the last two years, to pay to have the officers of the Lumberton Police Department certified. Captain Franklin and Officer C. Fortenberry used their own resources (time and money) to keep the certification current, but the board voted 2-1 last night to terminate their employment. Chief Fortenberry still has his certification, but the board is planning on terminating his employment at Tueday's board meeting; Bobby Gibson has already asked him to turn over the Tahoe. Now, new officers and officers that work with other law enforcement agencies ma…

Auditor's Report and A-Hole Alert

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Last night's special called meeting lasted about 3 hours, but the fallout from what happened will have a lasting effect on the City of Lumberton. Paige Johnson reported on her finding and went over what she kept referring to as a single audit. The board approved the Audit and the next step will be to have the noticed put in the newspapers and copies of the auditor's report should be available to the public. What happened next was clearly set the tone for the rest of the meeting. Our city clerk, Stephanie Mullings leaned over and started whispering into Bobby Gibson's ear. He gave her the green light, and she asked Paige Johnson if she could explain to the public that the allegations against the city clerk were not true. Stephanie said that she wanted Paige's response recorded for the minutes because of all the talk that she (Stephanie) did not know how to do her job and that she was stealing money from the city. Paige said that she was not aware of the allegations, but…