Hinds Co. board president to call another special meeting, again to oust David Archie
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A special meeting is slated for August 11, to again vote on a measure to remove Hinds County Supervisor David Archie as vice-president.
But this time, Board President Credell Calhoun said security will be there to prevent Archie from interrupting the vote.
“What we’re going to try to do is get some security in there so if he acts up, we will have him removed or whatever is necessary to have a meeting that can be respected by the people of Hinds County and the state,” Calhoun said.
“We want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Calhoun spoke to WLBT Wednesday afternoon, hours after a special called meeting to remove Archie had to be adjourned only minutes after being called to order.
The meeting was held, in large part, for supervisors to vote on a measure to remove Archie as vice-president and president elect.
In all, about 10 items were on the agenda.
After the prayer and Pledge of Allegiance, Archie made an objection to Calhoun’s agenda item and began banging his gavel and talking loudly, preventing the measure from being discussed and voted on.
Minutes later, Calhoun called for a motion to reset the meeting for August 11.
That motion was passed on a 3-0 vote. It was unclear if Calhoun called for any no votes on the measure.
“You know they were going to vote no,” he said, referring to Archie and District 1 Supervisor Robert Graham.
After that vote, Calhoun approached Chancery Clerk Eddie Jean Carr to inform her of the decision, while Archie continued to protest.
When Calhoun returned to his seat, he called for a vote to adjourn.
“That’s generally what you have to do when you have chaos,” he said.
Archie and Graham continued discussions after the other three supervisors left.
Among topics, the two criticized Calhoun for hiring a convicted felon to oversee the Hinds County Re-Entry Project and for bringing on a Florida-based firm to administer the county’s rental assistance program.
The Re-Entry Project is run by Louis Armstrong, a former Jackson City Council member and a city employee who was convicted years ago on federal charges for accepting a bribe.
Prior to being tapped for the Re-Entry program, he served as special projects officer in Calhoun’s office.
Calhoun says despite his conviction, Armstrong was the right man for the job.
“After he got out, he became a city employee and he worked in some halfway houses to help others stay straight,” he said.
“He worked with the city to help people and actually did the re-entry program for the city,” Calhoun explained. “This is the reason he was asked to head up the re-entry program for the county.”
Calhoun went on to say that neither he nor Armstrong control how program funding is spent, and that the mayor of Jackson and other groups have signed on to support the effort, even with Armstrong at the helm.
In all, about $500,000 in county, city and other funds have been set aside to fund the re-entry, which is based on a nationally recognized program in Birmingham.
“All the funds are in the accounting department. I get to write no checks. Louis Armstrong writes no checks,” he said. “All he gets to do is make recommendations.
“We have checks and balances to make sure no one takes funds.”
Calhoun agreed with Archie that the program has yet to take get off the ground, something he blames on Graham.
Graham served as board president last year, prior to Calhoun assuming the role in January.
“He told the administrator not to act on it,” he said. “I didn’t support him for mayor and that’s why he messed me over for a year.”
The program was supposedly launched in late 2020, in part, to provide housing, job training and other services to former detainees.
Calhoun said he expects the first 60 people to enter the program in September. That number will include 30 individuals in the county who are currently out of Mississippi Department of Corrections Custody and 30 others who are just being released.
The board president also disputed Archie’s claim that he was responsible for bringing on the Florida-based Integrity Group to administer the county’s rental assistance program.
The program is designed to provide rental assistance to tenants who are unable to make payments due to COVID-19.
According to minutes, Calhoun abstained from voting on the firm, because of a potential conflict of interest. However, Archie voted in favor of the group and made the motion to hire them.
“I did have someone that was renting a house and (had) not paid for some time,” Calhoun said. “I figured if I voted on it, it might be a conflict.”
As for who chose the firm, he said it was selected by the county administrator. Calhoun said he had no role in the selection process.
“I had nothing to do with that,” he said. “That was done by the administrator and his staff.”
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