Council seeking expedited decision in trash-related veto case

Richard's Disposal picking up trash and yard debris.
Richard's Disposal picking up trash and yard debris.(WLBT)
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 4:07 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Jackson City Council is seeking an expedited decision in a case that could determine whether the mayor can veto a council no-vote.

Tuesday, attorneys for the council filed a motion seeking the request with the Mississippi Supreme Court.

It comes just days after Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba filed an appeal of the lower court’s decision saying he could not override a negative vote of the council.

The court’s decision could ultimately determine who picks up trash in the capital city, as well as how mayor-council forms of government operate throughout the state.

“This matter should constitute good cause as it affects the governance of the city council and has a direct impact on the collection of solid waste inside the city - a matter, which if not quickly resolved, could result in a dire health crisis,” attorneys for the council wrote.

The city council rejected bringing on Richard’s Disposal multiple times. However, the company still began picking up waste in the city on April 1, after being given the go-ahead by the mayor.

In an April 1 letter to the company, Lumumba said Richard’s could begin picking up trash after he overrode a council vote denying the company a one-year emergency contract, in part, based on a previous ruling handed down by Judge Jess Dickinson.

In a late March ruling, Dickinson said the mayor could hypothetically veto a no vote of the council, the council could override the veto, and he could challenge that veto in court. The judge later vacated that decision and issued a new one, removing any mention of the mayor’s veto power.

The mayor also said that he was aware of the cease and desist order the council delivered to Richard’s on March 31, but said the council “does not have the direct authority to direct the actions of independent contractors/vendors of the city of Jackson.”

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