Members of McComb’s city board remain in disagreement about the events of a Sept. 23 meeting in which a vote was taken to remove City Administrator Jim Storer.
Mayor Zach Patterson has said the vote was improperly called and therefore invalid, an account reflected in minutes that selectmen Melvin Joe Johnson and Robert Earl Smith voted in favor of approving at a regular board meeting on Tuesday.
But the three selectmen who voted against paying city bills and approving prior meeting minutes said this week that Patterson’s refusal to recognize Storer’s firing is at the center of their decision to block those actions, as is Patterson’s decision to suspend acting police chief Greg Martin.
“The mayor’s account … is that Greg didn’t follow proper protocol to file a grievance,” Selectman E.C. Nobles said on Wednesday.
“We don’t have a city administrator. … So how can you file a grievance with somebody that isn’t there?”
Nobles said the same of his votes on bills and minutes.
“We can’t pay the bills for anything that Jim Storer has done because Jim Storer is not the city administrator,” he said.
“The mayor said he was obligated by law to pay the bills. By law, he can’t do anything without a vote from the selectmen, so if he does that he’ll be in direct violation of state law. All checks must be cleared by the board before they are issued.”
That position was echoed by Selectman Wade Lamb.
“It gets sticky because the city administrator’s been fired, but yet he’s still working there every day,” Lamb said. “I’ll be very clear here: I voted against approving the minutes of the meetings because in my recollection they are inaccurate. In all the attorney general’s rulings you will see about minutes, if it’s not in your minutes it didn’t happen.
“And in my opinion, based on my memory, they were not correct, and I was not going to vote to pass them. … I voted to terminate Jim Storer on Sept. 23. … No competent authority from the State of Mississippi or otherwise has invalidated that vote.”