Aldermen almost miss meeting quorum

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 8, 2000

Former Mayor Tony Byrne thought he knew why some of the Natchez aldermen failed to show for a regular board meeting Tuesday morning. &uot;I think word got out that I was coming back, and I was going to lead the meeting,&uot; Byrne joked after he was honored for his recognition as the Miss-Lou’s Athlete of the Century.

The recognition of Byrne as the PROUD program was one of the few things board members could do for about an hour Tuesday as they waited for a quorum to gather for the meeting.

With one member out sick, another out of town and a third almost an hour late for the meeting, the remaining aldermen could only greet the audience with awkward smiles.

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Sue Stedman had planned to be out of town, and Theodore &uot;Bubber&uot; West called in sick, said Mayor Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot; Brown.

While waiting to call the meeting to order, board members were also able to recognize two employees of the month, Wayne Griffin and Orshay Seals of the Natchez Visitor Reception Center.

Griffin and Seals were honored because they voluntarily took on janitorial duties at the visitor center – a move that saves the city more than $18,000 a year.

&uot;And it was their idea,&uot; Brown said. &uot;You all don’t know how much we appreciate your efforts.&uot;

When David Massey arrived just before noon, the mayor formally called the meeting to order and aldermen heard a report from municipal Judge John Tipton on last year’s activities in city court.

Aldermen also approved the docket necessary to pay the city’s bills for the month — a move the mayor could have legally done without a quorum — and approved a $2,200 loan from gaming to the farmer’s market fund.

In other business:

City Attorney Walter Brown told board members he expects to hear a response from the U.S. Justice Department by the next meeting on a request to change the Ward 2 voting precinct at the Harden-Wallace Center to Frazier Primary School. City officials have said the school has better access for voters.

Under the Voting Rights Act, the city must submit any changes in voting precincts to the justice department for approval.

The mayor told board members that City Planner David Preziosi secured a $2,500 grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to prepare educational materials on the history of Natchez for local students.

Preziosi said the planning department will parallel the materials to U.S. history – for example, explaining how Natchez residents reacted to the death of George Washington.