McComb’s city board rejected the mayor’s recommendation to hire former state Rep. David Myers as the new city administrator Tuesday night, and selectmens’ attempts to formally give the job to the interim city administrator also failed.
After numerous motions and an executive session covering the topic, the end result had interim City Administrator Ebony Ross still filling that position.
The board twice rejected Mayor Quordiniah Lockley’s nominee, first on a 4-2 vote that Selectman Donovan Hill said failed because Lockley did not reveal in advance that Myers was his selection.
At the end of the meeting, Selectman Devante Johnson made a motion to reconsider the mayor’s recommendation. Lockley named Myers as his choice for the job, but no one seconded the motion and it died.
Hill made a motion to hire Ross, who has been in the position for three months, but board attorney Angela Cockerham said that was “out of order.” She said the city’s special charter says the candidate must be recommended by the mayor and voted on by the board.
“The office of city administrator ... shall be appointed by the governing body on the advice and recommendation of the mayor,” Cockerham said, quoting the city’s special charter.
“When this ordinance was created, I’m not sure if the intent was to create unity or cohesiveness between the mayor and board, but this is the way the ordinance is read,” she said. “There has to be a recommendation from the mayor.”
Johnson cited an attorney general’s opinion that states a selectman could recommend a city administrator, but Cockerham said the city’s charter takes precedent. She said the attorney general’s opinion is respected but not binding.
“There is an AG’s opinion as well that had been requested years and years and years ago,” Cockerham said. “I’m starting with the order and with what the order says.”
Johnson suggested going into executive session to discuss personnel matters regarding Ross. The board voted 4-2, with selectmen Ronnie Brock, Shawn Williams, Johnson and Hill voting to go into the closed meeting, and selectmen Michael Cameron and Ted Tullos opposing.
Lockley asked Police Chief Garland Ward to escort the audience to the City Hall break room.
After about 35 minutes of deliberation, the board exited the executive session with no action taken.
The mayor made a motion to advertise the position again, which failed with the same 4-2 vote.
Lockley said he can bring a recommendation to the board until the process is settled, with or without advertising the position.