McComb’s city board voted to appeal the Civil Service Commission’s decision to reinstate former Chief Damian Gatlin in a split vote during a special called meeting Monday morning.
The board voted 3-2 to appeal, with selectmen Ronnie Brock, Devante Johnson and Shawn Williams voting in favor of the appeal and selectmen Micheal Cameron and Ted Tullos against it.
Selectman Donavon Hill was absent for the vote, walking into City Hall minutes after the meeting — which lasted less than five minutes — adjourned,
Before the vote, Tullos asked if the city had two chiefs and if the city would have to approve Gatlin’s back pay, and board attorney Angela Cockerham said they would not because appealing halts the process. Mayor Quordiniah Lockley echoed this.
“Everything is going to be on hold until the appeal is heard,” Lockley said.
Gatlin was terminated on April 14, and appealed the termination to the commission, which began the six-month legal battle between the board and the commission on whether Gatlin had civil service protection.
After multiple attempts from the board to dismiss the hearing, including a failed restraining order, the commission went along with the hearing, which lasted five hours on Wednesday. The commission announced their decision to reinstate Gatlin Friday morning, and in response, the mayor called the special meeting.
The commission voted 2-0, with commissioner Don Lazarus and Terrance Turner voting to overturn the firing of Gatlin, and commissioner Dwight Martin absent.
Martin walked out of the hearing last Wednesday, saying he stood with the board’s decision, after making a motion which failed to dismiss the hearing.