McComb selectmen got into a heated argument over board members’ refusal to wear face masks during a meeting Tuesday night, leading to the mayor to clear the room and enforce social distancing among officials.
“Again, as I sit around this table, and we all sit around this table, and we ask citizens to wear a mask. Again I am asking my board members — we have passed a mandate — please adhere to the mandate,” Mayor Quordiniah Lockley said. “It is very hard for our police officers or anyone else to enforce the mandate when we won’t even follow it ourselves.”
This came after selectmen Devante Johnson and Ronnie Brock stepped out of the board room during executive session, citing an issue with fellow selectmen Ted Tullos and Michael Cameron not wearing masks.
“I’m not going back in there if he ain’t going to wear a mask,” Johnson told board attorney Angela Cockerham outside of the board room.
Cockerham went back into the board room. Brock and Johnson followed.
Tullos, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this summer, said he had health issues that make it hard for him to wear a mask for too long. Cameron did not say why he would not wear a mask.
Mayor Quordiniah Lockley asked Cockerham what the best plan of action would be, and the two decided that if the board could not follow the city’s mandate, it would default to Gov. Tate Reeves’ mandate, which states that gatherings should be reduced to 10 people and if masks cannot be worn, social distancing should be enforced.
Lockley asked all city officials and those audience members to leave the room and moved selectmen to audience seating.
“This is the same governor who’s not wearing a mask,” he said, noting Gov. Tate Reeves’ daily press conferences where he regularly does not wear a mask when speaking, although he sits more than 6 feet apart from other government.
“He’s still the governor,” Lockley responded.
The meeting, which was livestreamed with poor audio quality, continued with social distancing — and no members of the public in attendance.
McComb enacted a mask ordinance in mid-July, initially with no fines. The city board later added penalties of $1,000 for businesses not self-enforcing the mask mandate and to individuals found holding large gatherings.
Cameron objected to all of those measures. Tullos supported the addition of penalties to the ordinance, but voted against the enactment of the ordinance itself.