Little Know Facts about Code Charter Municipalities
So many people have asked me why the mayor won't do this or why the mayor won't do that? Well, the City of Lumberton is under the Mayor-Board of Aldermen Form (also known as the code charter form) of government. This form of government is used by 95% of Mississippi's nearly 300 municipalities despite the fact that this governmental arrangement is the product of a period when the functions of municipal government were few and the desirability of a single executive was not recognized. Under this type of government, the role of the mayor is considered "weak". The mayor is given superintending responsibility for all officers and affairs and for seeing the laws and ordinances are executed, but the mayor is not given sufficient power to do so. Many of the residents of Lumberton do not know that the mayor is essentially a figure head and only has the ability to vote in the event of a tie. When people vote for a mayor, they are voting for the person that they want to represent their city, but as our form of government stands, the authority rest in the hands of the aldermen.
A better form of government for Lumberton would be the Mayor-Council Form. For some reason, this form is only used by ten municipalities: Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, Columbus, Greenwood, Gulfport, Hattiesburg and Jackson. The Mayor-Council form of government offers a system of checks and balances, the executive and legislative powers are divided logically between the mayor and the council, the administrative power is not diffused as in the mayor-board of aldermen form and the mayor is placed in a position to provide both strong administrative leadership and strong policy leadership.
But this is where the citizens come in. At some point, the residents of Lumberton voted to designate Lumberton as a code charter municipality but any municipality can vote to change the form of government designated for their city by a vote of the municipal electors in either a special or general election held for that purpose.