United Concerned Citizens of Lumberton

As you can tell from the header, we're still trying to establish a name for the watchdog group. Tonight is the last regular scheduled meeting of 2014. Since we're not officially organized at this moment, I would like those that are attending tonight's meeting to make sure they get a copy of the agenda and take notes on the votes; who made the motion, the second and who voted yea or nay. This information will be needed as we prepare to file our ethic complaints. I know we're in the Christmas season and many are in holiday mode. I will stay in contact via email and through texts with those that provided their contact information. Hopefully, our first official meeting will be Wednesday, the day after the January board meeting. I'm looking forward to working with each of you as we hold our elected representatives accountable.

Yesterday, I sent out an email with information about the ins and outs of a code charter municipality. The email contained the following: The code charter form of government is the form of government utilized by the vast majority of Mississippi cities, including Lumberton. It is also known as the weak-mayor form of government because this describes the relationship between the mayor and the board of aldermen. A code charter municipality elects a mayor and either 5 or 7 aldermen, depending on population. State law also requires that a code charter municipality have a chief of police, a tax collector and assessor (which may be one individual), a town clerk and a street commissioner. These positions can be held by appointment or election and the option is established in the town charter. Let’s take a look at what everyone is supposed to do in a code charter. And then let’s see how carefully Lumberton follows its charter… The mayor (1) presides at all meetings of the board; (2) casts a deciding vote in the event of a tie vote of the board; (3) has superintending control over all officers and affairs of the municipality, and enforces all applicable laws and ordinances, subject to the direction of the board; (4) reviews and approves/vetoes all ordinances, resolutions and orders adopted by the board within 10 days; (5) signs all commissions and appointments of all elective and appointive officers of the municipality, as selected by the mayor and board; (6) calls a special meeting of the board; (7) approve bonds of municipal officers.

The board members (1) elect one member to serve as Mayor Pro Tempore, who serves in the absence of the Mayor; (2) set the agenda, make motions, cast votes on, or enact all municipal ordinances, resolutions and orders; (3) may override the veto of the mayor by a 2/3 vote of the members of the board; (4) make appointments, hire or dismiss city employees, subject to the mayor’s veto.

Do you like this form of government? Is Lumberton's government serving you? Last month, Mayor Winston failed in his duties as the mayor of a code charter municipality. Since no special called meetings were held in November, it's likely that Winston instructed the clerk to pay most of the bills, without board approval, because he's planning to put them back on the agenda because his tie breaker, Tommy Dukes, will probably be at tonight's meeting. Tonight's meeting is at 6:00 pm. I will have my camera and pen ready but this time, the videomis going further than a blog post.

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