The Jackson City Council is holding a confirmation vote today at 2 p.m. on Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin as Jackson's next police chief even as some Council members are complaining that the mayor has not provided adequate documentation for the appointment.
Ward 2 Councilman Leslie McLemore said the Melton administration had neglected to offer the council any detailed package outlining either the potential for services consolidation or the salary of the chief, who will likely collect both his city salary (former chief Shirlene Anderson's pay was about $114,000) and his county salary of abut $105,000.
"Normally we would have gotten this information weeks in advance," McLemore told the Jackson Free Press last week.
McMillin said he will retain his job as Hinds County sheriff while filling his role with the city, and some council members say the new chief is heralding a consolidation of city and county services. "This decision will mean a consolidation of services at some place. It is inescapable, and that has not been spelled out to me by the administration, yet," McLemore said at last week's regular council meeting.
Hinds County Supervisor Doug Anderson said supervisors, like council members, have been left out of the debate. Supervisors have also not publicly discussed the ramifications of McMillin handling dual roles with the city and county.
"We were not consulted (by McMillin) on anything like that, so we don't have a say-so," Anderson said.
Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon said she was nervous about the absence of any interlocal agreement between the county and the city regarding a merger of some services.
"We have received no information on any potential consolidation or terms of employment salary or anything. It never occurred to me that we would enter into this without an interlocal agreement, because you can't mingle these funds, not legally. There should be no sharing of services without an agreement. Even them using a copying machine (over in the county office) for the city could be an issue," Barrett-Simon said.
Barrett-Simon also expressed nervousness over the question of liability, saying an inter-local agreement would help spell out who would be subject to lawsuit should city and county officers be involved in the same legally questionable situation.
The heat is on council members to confirm McMillin, however. Neighborhood associations and Jackson residents feel the city is starved for leadership.
Precinct 4 COPS member and Jackson resident Belmont Trapp was urging Barrett-Simon to support McMillin after a meeting last week.
"McMillin exudes leadership. He's respected by all levels of the population, rich, poor, black and white," Trapp told the Jackson Free Press. "Morale seems to be at an all-time high. Having been a police officer, he just knows the ropes as far as what they need in a leader and he knows what Jackson residents need in a leader."
The pressure may be forcing some council members to act inconsistently. Ward 1 Councilman Jeff Weill, the newest member of the council, frequently admits to needing more information before voting on seemingly uncontroversial issues. Weill said the administration had offered him no information on either McMillin's employment agreement or the beginnings of an interlocal agreement. He seemed fine with scanning the information immediately prior to the confirmation, however.
"I will get to City Hall in plenty of time to read it before the confirmation hearing if, in fact, it is in the box," Weill said.
Just posted, msgrits. (Sorry, Adam had turned it in, and I forgot to post before going to yoga. Oops. My bad.)
Your health is more important that my impatience.
"than" my impatience