Mayor vetoes vote to pay legal fees

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 15, 2011

FERRIDAY — For the second time in three months, Ferriday Mayor Glen McGlothin has exercised his veto ability, this time canceling the recent aldermen’s decision to pay legal fees to the town’s former mayor.

The board voted at Tuesday night’s meeting to pay $129,000 in legal fees to former mayor Sammy Davis, who was convicted of malfeasance in office and was later acquitted of those charges.

The ordinance would have required the town to pay the fees in four equal payments of $32,250 annually until 2014, with the first payment due on Aug. 1, 2011.

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Placing the veto on Wednesday, McGlothin said he vetoed the ordinance because paying it would be the wrong thing to do for Ferriday.

“It is not responsible to try and pay a bill we do not owe,” McGlothin said. “I have nothing against (Davis), it is just irresponsible on my behalf to let this go forward.”

McGlothin said according to the Attorney General’s opinion, the town does not have any legal obligation to pay the fees.

“We do not have the money to pay for it, we aren’t required to pay for it and we could be charged with malfeasance if we pay for something we don’t owe,” he said.

McGlothin said in a letter to the aldermen explaining why he vetoed the ordinance that paying Davis’ bill before paying other bills legally owed by Ferriday amounts to malfeasance by the town.

McGlothin also said he has never received a bill stating the amount owed by the town.

“How am I supposed to pay a bill I have never seen?” he said.

McGlothin said the town needs to worry about paying bills it currently owes and not have to worry about paying legal fees they do not owe.

“We still have other things to worry about that are more important than this,” McGlothihn said. “We need to exhaust all avenues to figure this out.”

While there has been no mention of this yet, the board of aldermen in Ferriday can override the mayors veto with a two-thirds majority vote.

This would require four of the five aldermen to vote to override the veto.

If the veto is overturned, the issue has to be brought back to the board for a vote on whether or not to pay the fees.

The mayor cannot veto the ordinance again.