AG says Gautier City Council member cannot serve on school board

Published 4:17 pm Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Dick Paul is prohibited from serving on both the Gautier City Council and the Pascagoula School Board, the state attorney general’s office says.

Paul, who is school board president, has said that he would remain as a City Council member if the ruling did not allow the dual service.

Assistant Attorney General Heather Wagner provided opinions Monday to Gautier city attorney Wendy Tynes and state Superintendent Hank Bounds.

Tynes had asked for a ruling to determine if Paul’s dual service was a conflict of interest based on the state separation of powers, and how would it affect the city.

Bounds asked for a clarification of rulings in 1991, 1992 and 1993 that differed on whether a local school board has executive or legislative powers.

The opinions concluded that the council is a legislative branch and the school board is executive. Attorney General Jim Hood reviewed the final decisions, his staff said.

Tynes said the opinion means that Paul does not have to leave the school board because he has not been a member for a year. “His acceptance of the City Council position automatically vacated his seat on the school board,” she said.