City wants repayment for school resource officer training

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Tuesday, Picayune’s City Council approved a motion to build sidewalks along Davis Street and decided that they will come to a decision concerning a security contract with the Picayune School District by the next meeting in the month.
Public Works Director Eric Morris said the sidewalk will be installed down Davis Street from the intersections of Weems Street and Bruce Street. The project will cost about $11,000, and funding will come from the Westside Development District fund. City Clerk Amber Hinton said that account has a current balance of about $16,000.
Repayment of training for the additional school resource officers requested by the School District who now work at campuses within the Picayune School District was also discussed at Tuesday’s meeting. Hinton said the School District owes the city about $30,000 for training of the additional officers the School District requested so at least one officer can be at each campus.
Discussion about cancelling the contract between the city and the District if repayment is not made occurred during Tuesday’s meeting.
City attorney Nathan Farmer said he plans to have a face to face with the District’s temporary legal counsel before the Council meets again on March 17 so he can come back with a resolution.
Councilor Tammy Valente said she hopes the District and city can come to an agreement so the safety of the students is not compromised. Councilor Larry Breland agreed.
Councilor Wayne Gouguet said he is concerned about the current set up of the contract. During the school year, school resource officers report to School District’s administration. However, during the summer or on school holidays, the officers work for the Picayune Police Department. Gouguet said he is concerned that if something bad happens, the person who gave that order may be in question, putting the city in a liability situation.
At the end of Tuesday’s meeting, Rev. Brian Dees addressed the Council to first thank them for giving him a platform to voice his concerns publicly and to reiterate his dissatisfaction that a majority did not reappoint Edward Stubbs to the School District’s Board of Trustees during the last meeting in Feburary. In comparison, he attempted to address the Picayune School Board of Trustees, but was told he would have to do so in executive session away from the public. When he left that meeting he said he left more disappointed and concerned because he never got an answer to his question concerning the District’s “administrative process.”
In relation to the Council’s School Board appointment, Dees said that he is still upset. During that meeting, Councilors Lynne Bogan Bumpers and Breland attempted to reappoint Stubbs, but their appointment failed in a tie.
Brleand and Bumpers said during the last meeting that Stubbs should have been reappointed because they always vote with other Councilors who make a motion to reappoint a person to a public office within their respective District. In return, Bumpers and Breland said they should be allowed to decide who fills the School Board position within their districts.
However, the motion to reappoint Stubbs failed and instead Jarrell Myers was appointed to that position during the last Council meeting.
Dees described the decision during the last meeting as a creek with an undertow, even though everything looks calm on the surface, there’s more going on under the water.
“If y’all not careful, y’all going to hurt a whole lot of us,” Dees said.

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