‘It is not the mayor’s fault’: Pelahatchie mayor blames board of aldermen for delay in city paychecks

Updated: Aug. 23, 2019 at 4:13 PM CDT
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PELAHATCHIE, Miss. (WLBT) - Twenty-one Pelahatchie city employees did not receive their paychecks this week.

This is the second pay period in a row that some employees haven’t been paid.

At least five employees with the town of Pelahatchie weren’t paid Friday, August 9 because Mayor Ryshonda Beechem has refused to sign their paychecks, Mayor Pro Tempore Margie Warren told 3 On Your Side.

Mayor Ryshonda Beechem says she was advised by counsel not to do so.

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

City leaders are doing everything they can to keep services going, but there are city bills the Mayor has also not signed off on which could create problems.

Brady Harrell, the city’s Public Works Director said, "If other bills such as the power bill doesn’t get paid the water wells could get shut off which means the residents won’t have water. Then we’ll have sewer lift stations that will be shut off.

This week, no employee received a paycheck, including those who do utilize direct deposit.

Mayor Ryshonda Beechem released a statement blaming the board for the delay in paychecks

The workers are not getting paid today because the board refuse to sign the checks and the board has the authority to upload ACH for direct deposit and to sign checks. This board has ALL the power. They have taken away any and every little power I have as the Mayor. Every POSITIVE thing I tried to implement to make the town grow and develop the board denied it. They have overwritten/denied EVERYTHING.

I have encouraged the board to sign checks and put their own names beside their financial dealings. They have refused, and here we are. It is a sad day where we cannot trust the transaction of our governing authority, but this is our reality with this board. The evidence is clear; they do not trust their own financial decisions enough to stand by them personally.

My family and I are suffering as well, I have not received my pay on many occasions and I have not received it now. IT IS NOT THE MAYOR'S FAULT.

Warren said they’re still waiting on the town’s bank to authorize other aldermen to be able to sign instead of Beechem, and had originally thought it would be approved this week, but that process has taken longer.

On Aug. 5, aldermen unanimously approved a measure that would allow three aldermen to be able to sign checks and warrants when the mayor is unavailable or unable to sign.

Three days later, they held a special meeting to approve those minutes.

Warren said those minutes have already been sent to the bank, but the financial institution now wants an audit of the town’s finances before it can move forward.

WLBT will have much more on this story in tonight’s newscasts.

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