Pelahatchie alderman: Mayor’s failure to sign paychecks will delay some employees’ pay until next week

Updated: Aug. 9, 2019 at 5:21 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - At least five employees with the town of Pelahatchie won’t be paid Friday because Mayor Ryshonda Beechem has refused to sign their paychecks, Mayor Pro Tempore Margie Warren tells 3 On Your Side.

Those affected include the town clerk, a police officer, and other personnel who do not utilize direct deposit, including Beechem herself, according to Warren.

Warren said those paychecks can only be cashed with two signatures -- hers and Beechem’s.

Beechem declined to comment, instead referring questions about the issue to her attorney, Thomas Bellinder.

Bellinder said the mayor has been advised not to sign anything involving checks, loans or notes because of past financial issues and alleged violations of law by the board.

“She has informed the Board that per her understanding, the Mayor Pro Tem (sic) or other board members can sign the payroll checks,” Bellinder wrote in an email response.

At a regular board meeting Monday night, aldermen unanimously approved a measure to authorize three aldermen to be able to sign checks or warrants approved by the board “where the mayor is unavailable or unable to sign the checks/warrants.”

Beechem did not attend the meeting, saying she wasn’t feeling well on her Facebook page.

That measure cannot be recognized by the bank in question until approved minutes of the board’s actions are provided to the financial institution, Warren said.

Minutes are typically approved at the next board meeting, which would be September, leaving those employees relying on paper checks without pay until then.

Because of that looming delay, aldermen called a special meeting Thursday night to accept the minutes from Monday’s meeting.

Warren said the process takes three days and includes paperwork that must be filed by aldermen with the bank, meaning it could be Tuesday before those employees get their paychecks.

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