Lee Dulaney mug

Lee Dulaney

The Fulton Board of Aldermen have hired a board attorney and city prosecutor.

Aldermen voted, last week, to hire Lee Dulaney of Tupelo to fill both roles formerly held by Michael “Chip” Mills, Jr. Mills has resigned from his positions after being appointed as 1st Circuit Court Judge in late February.

Dulaney is a partner at the Tupelo-based firm Dulaney & Sumner. He’ll begin working for Fulton on June 2 at a salary of $22,900.

Several attorneys applied for one or both positions, giving aldermen options on who to hire. Although Mills has served both functions, the city’s board attorney and prosecutor don’t have to be the same person. In fact, Mills said most municipalities use different lawyers for each.

But the board was adamant about having a single person fill both positions.

“Ideally, it would be the same person,” said Ward IV Alderman Brad Chatham, and his fellow aldermen seemed to agree with that sentiment.

Although he could legally continue advising the board until August, when his judgeship will force him to shutter his private practice and step down from his various municipal responsibilities, Mills said the board would need to fill the role of city prosecutor before the next court session, set for June 11. Fulton Police Chief Mitch Nabors said he’d like to have someone in the position as quickly as possible to familiarize him with the case load before court began.

Nabors said he didn’t think it would be fair to “toss someone into the ring at the last second.”

“If you could have someone in here a week before that, would that give you time to get to know him and get things worked out,” Ward II Alderman Mike Nanney asked the police chief.

“Yes, sir,” Nabors answered.

Although aldermen were in agreement that they wanted to hire a single person, who that person should be caused some light debate. Mayor Barry Childers recommended Tupelo attorney Kirk Tharp, who attended one of the city board’s regular meetings in April to ask for the job in person. Childers argued that Tharp had the most experience out of the applicants. Nanney said he’d back whoever the mayor picked.

But Chatham and Alderman at Large Liz Beasley said they liked Dulaney, whose family hails from Itawamba County. Chatham in particular said he’d like to keep their attorney “as local as possible.”

The rest of the board inevitably sided with Chatham and Beasley and voted to hire Dulaney.

adam.armour@journalinc.com

Twitter: @admarmr

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