Judge signs off on order ruling Jackson mayor could not veto a ‘no vote’ of city council

Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 11:00 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - On Tuesday, Special Appointed Judge Larry Roberts signed off an order saying that Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba could not veto a “no vote” of the Jackson City Council.

The ruling was issued Friday.

Now that the judge has signed off on the order, the next step is for it to be mailed to the Hinds County Chancery Clerk.

The clerk must place a seal on the order and stamp it. Then it will be filed and placed on the Mississippi Electronic Courts website.

As of right now, the future of trash pickup remains in limbo for the city of Jackson following Friday’s ruling.

For the past three months, crews with Richard’s Disposal have been hauling away trash.

So far, the company hasn’t been paid.

Could this continue?

Attorney Deshun Martin, who represents the city council, said it would take a majority vote to decide that.

“Council has to say, yes, we agree that they (Richards’s Disposal) should be paid with a simple majority, 4-3,” said Martin. “That contract, that request to pay the contract has never ever gotten a majority of the city council of Jackson, Mississippi.”

Martin said that part is important, and he believes that’s why things have gotten to this point.

“You cannot operate any city in the state of Mississippi by minority rule or super-majority vote, or vetoing negative non adopted pieces of legislation, ordinances, and contracts,” said Martin.

It all dates back to April 1, that’s when Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba vetoed the council’s decision to reject an emergency contract with Richard’s Disposal.

Now that the order has been signed, Martin said he thinks the mayor and council should go back to the table and restart this process again.

“As long as the majority is speaking in unison, I would humbly request that everybody gets back to the table as soon as possible, start work sessions, start council work sessions on the way forward, eventually get into the RFP (Request for Proposals) process, get a couple of candidates, and get it done, and let’s get it done the right way,” said Martin.

As things currently stand, Mayor Lumumba said Richard’s Disposal will continue collecting trash in the Capital City.

When it comes to potential legal options for the mayor and his legal team, in a statement following Friday’s ruling, he said they are still considering their options.

“We are now considering our remaining legal options to protect the separation of executive vs. legislative powers,” Mayor Lumumba said in a statement.

From the date the order is filed on the Mississippi Electronic Courts website, the mayor and his legal team have 30 days to appeal the judge’s ruling if they choose to do so.

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