Aldermen decide to hire third party investigator to establish wrongdoing

Published 7:00 am Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Poplarville Board of Aldermen handled routine business during Tuesday’s meeting.

The end of the meeting consisted of an executive session to discuss a Poplarville Police Department matter. Mayor Rossie Creel said the discussion was about hiring a third party investigator to look into a previous complaint concerning allegations that a Poplarville Police officer prematurely closed a music event at the fair grounds on Aug. 18, called “Friday Night Lights Concert.”

Creel said the aim of the investigator, when one is hired, will be to determine if any wrongdoing occurred on the part of any city entity, including the officer, city hall and the police chief.

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Previous coverage states that the organizers of the event claimed Poplarville Police Officer Bruce Eades told them they had to shut the event down early. They said his actions caused them to feel harassed and discriminated due to the officer’s actions and and the presence of other officers near the venue.

During a meeting of the Board last month, it was said that some sort of action would be taken against the officer. However, Wednesday Creel said it will be the task of this third party investigator to determine if the officer did anything that was actionable. A timeline on when that investigator would be hired was not available at press time.

In other matters the Board heard from City Clerk Jane O’Neal about the city’s finances.

She said that as of the end of the last fiscal year, Sept. 30, the city received more in revenue than budgeted and the city’s expenses were in line.

The Board also discussed an aging water line on Old Wiggins Highway, where a number of leaks have occurred.

O’Neal said engineer Jason Lamb presented the Board with several options to repair the problem during Tuesday’s meeting and that he intends to bring more information concerning a possible fix to the Board at a later date.

Discussions about establishing an ordinance mandating the use of dedicated water meters also continued during Tuesday’s meeting. No decision was made on the matter, but O’Neal said the city attorney is still drawing up a final policy to ensure all businesses and homes are served by an individual water meter.

In other business the Board;

— Approved a motion to promote firefighter Chris Sherrill to full time at an hourly rate of $11.02.

— Approved a motion to hire Mona Seals as a deputy city clerk at an hourly rate of $12.87.

— Approved a motion to engage the services of Topp McWhorter Harvey PLLC to perform an audit at the all inclusive fee of $36,000 for the fiscal year ending September 2016.

The next Board meeting will be Oct. 17 at 5 p.m. in City Hall.