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Dupree to appeal ruling that re-elected mayors must submit agency heads for confirmation

Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree will ask the Mississippi Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that said a re-elected mayor must submit the names of reappointed city department heads to the local governing board for confirmation.

Forrest County Circuit Judge Bob Helfrich ruled Sept. 29 in favor of council members Carter Carroll and Kim Bradley and former councilman C.E. “Red” Bailey that a re-elected mayor is required to submit standing department heads for council review.

The decision, however, could impact other Mississippi cities when such executive and legislative disputes arise.

DuPree filed his notice of appeal Friday.

Dupree said Monday that Helfrich’s ruling addressed only a part of state law dealing with appointments.

“He took part of the statute and gave the city council the right to determine reasonable time,” DuPree said. “I don’t believe state law gives the council that right.”

DuPree said Helfrich’s ruling has statewide implications and a higher court needs to address the issue.

State law requires mayors to present department heads for council ratification, but does not include a timetable. Instead the law said mayors should present those department heads within a reasonable time.

DuPree has said he believes state law was intended to be patterned after the federal structure in which executive appointees initially require legislative approval but are allowed to carry over after re-election.