The judge says argument made by Lumumba does not stand up when considering all code sections and ordinances.
After verbally ruling from the bench that Jackson’s Mayor Chokwe Lumumba cannot veto a negative action from City Council, Judge Larry Roberts has released his written ruling on the matter.
The ruling posted Friday, offered additional insight into Judge Larry Roberts opinion of the mayor’s argument. He called it “non-sensical” adding that the city’s own statute goes against Lumumba’s argument and the Attorney General’s.
“Consequently, the Court agrees with the Attorney General’s interpretation that when a matter is not passed by the city council, it is a negative action to which the mayor does not have the power to veto. It’s an inaction; there’s nothing there to veto. The Council did not pass affirmatively a matter; it rejected it,” said the opinion from Judge Roberts.
The mayor’s attorney argued that code sections 21-8-17 and 21-8-47, which they said must be read together, give the mayor the authority to veto a negative action by city council. However, Roberts said Jackson city ordinances must also be considered.
One of which states: “No action of the city council shall be considered adopted unless it receives the affirmative of that portion of the council dictated by state law.”
“In order for the mayor to have any power to veto an ordinance, the ordinance must be adopted by the council and then presented to the mayor pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. 21-8-17(2),” Roberts wrote.
The suit centered around the city councils no vote on a garbage contract with Richard’s Disposal. The Mayor then veto’d the negative action and hired Richard’s. In fact, the council ruled against Richard’s contract four times, including twice after they began collecting trash. The company has been picking up trash in Jackson since April, seemingly without payment after another suit was filed by the company.
Richard’s is now suing the city of Jackson for $1.6 million in restitution. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.
They argue that they should be paid because it has “expended significant tiem and resources developing, preparing, delivering and otherwise providing COJ [City of Jackson] and residents of Jackson…solid waste collection services with the intent of receiving compensation from COJ.”
Court records indicate that the company submitted invoices for May and June of $808,035 each. The May invoice was not paid because some City Council members did not believe they could vote to pay an invoice for a contract they did not approve.
The Mayor will have 30 days to appeal the ruling, which he is expected to be considering after comments made following last week’s hearing.