Jackson City Council and Johnson’s admin. created friction

Items that are not ready by the city’s deadline can be brought forward on an emergency basis – if all council members agree.

Regular requests for emergency consideration by the late-Mayor Frank Melton’s administration had created friction between city officials and council members.

Councilman Jeff Weill, who often clashed with Melton over emergency items, challenged Johnson on his request for five emergency votes Thursday.

Among the items was a request to submit a $58.5 million grant to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to demolish and rehabilitate abandoned houses.

The deadline to submit the grant is today.

“We’ve been handed a stack of paper an inch-and-a-half thick. None of us have had an opportunity to look at it,” Weill said. “I’m nervous that we’re setting a precedent on emergency items.”

Weill refused to vote on the grant without reviewing the proposal. The council eventually took at 10-minute break to look over the document and then approved the grant 6 to 0.

Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon was not at the meeting.

In the end, council members denied only one of the emergency requests.

The Jackson Police Department asked the council to approve a list of surplus goods scheduled to be auctioned later this month. Officer Lester Schommer told the council the request was turned in late because of the change in administration.

Clarion-Ledger
7/17/9