McComb’s city board had a relatively short agenda to work through Tuesday night, but none of it was taken care of.
With just two selectmen, Michael Cameron and Ted Tullos, present at the appointed 5:30 p.m. meeting time, Mayor Quordiniah Lockley declared the lack of a quorum to conduct business and told everybody in the board room, “Go home.”
Selectman Shawn Williams arrived a couple of minutes later, but Cameron and Tullos had already left, and Lockley said, “It’s too late.”
Selectman Devante Johnson was present in the boardroom prior to the meeting, but left before it was supposed to start.
“I walked out at 5:27 to get my iPad from my car,” Johnson said later. “When I came back up the stairs, everybody was leaving. I asked what was going on, and they said there was no quorum, there was no meeting.
“I’m not sure what happened. I didn’t leave. Normally the mayor waits for everybody.”
Also absent were selectmen Ronnie Brock and Donovan Hill. Brock, up until this month, had missed few, if any, meetings this term.
Hill is frequently not physically present because his job takes him out of town, but he often arranges to call in to meetings. There was no indication that Hill was expected to arrive or call in prior to Lockley’s quorum determination.
City Clerk Servia Fortenberry said the board would have to have a special called meeting to pay the month’s regular bills, and Lockley said Wednesday that the board would meet at 8:30 a.m. today.
The agenda for the called meeting contains only financial matters, adoption of the municipal compliance questionnaire required by the state and an executive session for litigation matters.
Left off from Tuesday’s agenda were discussion about the status of Lockley’s mayoral powers, a rental waiver for the McComb Garden Club and other matters.
The lack of a quorum Tuesday might have been foreshadowed last week, when Williams was the only board member present for the regularly scheduled work session. Then, too, Johnson had been present in the board room until a few minutes before the work session was supposed to start, but left.
“Work sessions are not mandatory,” Johnson said Wednesday. “I had a prior engagement I had to attend then.”
Cameron has not attended work sessions in months, and Tullos’ attendance at work sessions has dwindled.
While the board has had some contentious discussions lately, especially over the removal and return of powers to the mayor, Brock said he knew of no concerted effort to boycott board meetings.
“I just got called out to do something,” Brock said Wednesday. “I don’t think I’ve missed a meeting since I was elected to the board. It’s just a coincidence. It was their bad luck that Mr. Williams was late.”
The previous week, Brock said he attended a conference on opportunity zones in Jackson Monday and Tuesday, and “rushing back for the work session was not feasible.”
Lockley also attended the opportunity zones conference in Jackson last week, and was present for the work session, along with Williams.
Witnesses in the board room told the Enterprise-Journal that every board member but Hill had been present in the board room in the half-hour prior to the meeting.
Lockley declined to comment on the situation Wednesday.