HOUSTON • The Houston Board of Aldermen met for a special meeting last Monday with one purpose, to try and decide on a move for the City Clerk.
In July, the board voted 3-2 not to reappoint Lisa Easley as City Clerk.
It was discovered that Easley could serve in a hold-over position until such time as her successor is appointed, however, it turned out that she can only serve in that position with pay for 90 days, after that she cannot be paid by the city.
Ward 1 Alderlady Kellie Atkinson said that the state law prevented Easley from being made City Clerk again since she was not confirmed the first time.
The law to which she was referring is Mississippi State Law 21-15-41.
“If a council or board of aldermen rejects, or otherwise fails to confirm, an individual submitted by the mayor for appointment, the mayor may not resubmit or reappoint the same individual for that position during the remainder of the mayor’s current term in office,” reads the law.
However, Mayor Stacey Parker countered and said that he was not appointing her.
“I completely under stand that,” he said. “It’s coming from the boardroom, I am not asking for it, I called a special meeting because it was to be reconsidered.”
Atkinson said that she would like an Attorney General’s Opinion as to whether or not it could even be considered again.
She made the motion and Ward 3 Alderman Matt Callahan seconded it, but the motion failed 3-2.
Then the board moved into discussing reappointing Easley.
Ward 2 Alderlady Shenia Jones made the motion, however, Atkinson said that in order for a motion to be reversed, it had to be made by one of the prevailing side, which consisted of Atkinson, Callahan and Ward 4 Alderlady Willie McKinney.
McKinney made the motion to reappoint Easley and Jones seconded it.
Atkinson then told McKinney that she was breaking the law.
“I just want to make sure Willie Mae does understand that the state law says that she cannot be reappointed, just so you know,” said Atkinson during the discussion point of the motion.
The law’s ambiguity had an impact on others as well.
“I understand what you’re saying, and I’m not comfortable with rehiring today, we’re in discussion, so I’ll say that,” said Alderman At Large Barry Springer. “Another day is as good as today.”
They said that they wanted to research it fully and find out everything they needed to know before making a decision.
McKinney withdrew her motion, however, Jones said that she could not withdraw her motion until she withdrew her second.
Ultimately, the motion was withdrawn and no action was taken on rehiring.
However, coming full circle, Springer made the motion to seek a written opinion from the Attorney General if Easley could even be considered for the position again, and McKinney seconded it.
The motion passed and the meeting was adjourned.