• 48°

Vidalia board reverses votes on appointments

VIDALIA — An apparent tug of war between Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft and members of the town council continued in a special-called meeting Tuesday.

Two weeks after the Vidalia Board Aldermen voted down hiring recommendations by Craft and Vidalia Police Chief Joey Merrill, board members reversed their decisions.

Tuesday afternoon, board members on separate 2-3 votes approved Spencer McAllister as a patrol officer for the Vidalia Police Department and Ricky Roth as the head of the town’s utility department.

In each vote, aldermen Jon Betts, Brent Smith and Rosa Demby voted to approve the recommendations. Aldermen Tommy Probst and Robert Gardner voted against approval.

In each case, Alderwoman Rosa Demby reversed her decision from two weeks ago when she voted down the hiring of McAllister and Roth. Demby, who was just elected to the board, did not offer any reasons for her reversal in Tuesday’s meeting.

The five-minute meeting was dominated by multiple attempts by Gardner to install his choice of Cornell Lewis as the head of the town Utility Department.

On two separate occasions, Gardner’s motions to hire Lewis were called out of order by town attorney George Murray because Gardner’s actions were not on the agenda.

Board members are also not allowed to make recommendations for department heads. Board members can only accept or reject the mayor’s recommendations.

During the meeting, Gardner insisted on multiple occasions that he was only making a motion to hire Lewis.

“I did not recommend,” Gardner said. “I made a motion.”

Craft disagreed with Gardner.

“You made a motion to put in somebody which makes it your recommendation,” Craft said.

After Gardner’s efforts were called out of order, Craft asked for motions to accept his recommendation of Ricky Roth as the supervisor of the town’s utility department.

Betts made the motion and Smith seconded the motion. The motion passed 2-3 with Gardner and Probst voting against.

On Aug. 11, the board rejected the hiring of McAllister and Roth. In relation to the hiring of a police officer, Gardner said some of his constituents had told him the police department had too many employees and that the police department had a high turnover rate.

After the meeting, Craft said Probst’s and Gardner’s actions at Tuesday’s meeting and previous meetings amounted to “foolishness.” Craft said he hopes that such foolishness will not continue for the next four years.

“Residents deserve better from their leaders,” Craft said.

On social media Wednesday, Gardner responded to what happened in the meeting:

“I’ve come to the conclusion that some of us Vidalia people are still stuck in the 1950’s-1960’s era. That starts with the head of our town. We see employees come to work every day and give us their all in all. Then when it’s time to promote we look over the employees with the most experienced due to political agendas. If you get your family to vote for me I’ll make sure I’ll take care of you. I personally know how these employees feel investing their life into a job that could care less about them. I’m reminded of a particular story my Grandmother shared about the all-white pool  in Vidalia that sat behind the upper elementary. African American kids had to sit and watch the white kids swim. We should not be judging people on their sex, age, origin or religious beliefs. We should be and equal opportunity employer. A change is coming….. keep your head up, continue to do and strive for the best. Your work is not overlooked by this Alderman.”

News

Trash collection one day behind schedule for Thanksgiving

News

Ferriday man sentenced to life for 2019 slaying of Natchez schoolteacher

Business

Mayor: Silver Street raising and dock plans moving forward

News

Tree lighting event is Saturday in Natchez

News

Former Natchez Alderman David Massey dies at 72

News

Stewpot ready to serve needy on Thanksgiving

News

Saturday high-speed chase began in Louisiana, ended with crash in Natchez

News

No print edition of The Democrat on Friday

News

Natchez school board cancels bid opening for new high school due to COVID-19

News

5 Miss-Lou residents die of COVID-19 over weekend

News

Remains found in Natchez neighborhood

News

The Dart: Natchez resident loves music

News

Coroner: A Natchez woman dies with COVID-19 Sunday

DEVELOPING NEWS

Suspect in high-speed vehicle chase arrested in Natchez

BREAKING NEWS

Natchez Police investigating Saturday shooting that injured two people

News

Coroner: Two Ferriday men died with COVID-19 Saturday at Merit Health Natchez

News

Natchez freedmen and women largely funded Emancipation Monument in Washington, D.C.

News

Adams County coroner loses 25-year-old granddaughter to COVID-19, urges compliance with health guidelines

News

35-year-old Ferriday resident dies with COVID-19 as cases, hospitalizations continue rising

News

‘American Pickers’ star Mike Wolfe picks Natchez

News

COVID-19 numbers spike locally just before holidays

News

Norm Yvon resigns as lead administrator of Cathedral School

BREAKING NEWS

ACCS falls to Leake Academy in MAIS Class 5A state championship

News

Second suspect arrested in Tuesday armed robbery