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City Gives Convicted Councilman 2nd Chance

Published: Feb. 1, 2007 at 10:48 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 7, 2007 at 1:13 PM CST
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By David Kenney
david@wlbt.net

He was at the center of a bribery scandal and federal investigation, that shook the Jackson city council to the core in the late nineties.

This week former councilman Louis Armstrong was hired back with the city, despite his status as a convicted felon.

Armstrong served over a year in federal prison, pleading guilty to accepting part of a $25,000.00 bribe to influence a council vote, on rezoning a strip club in 1999. Now, he's back working for the city, where he may face strict public criticism, as a convicted felon.

We caught up with Armstrong at his new office Thursday.  He responded, "I haven't heard any negative I've heard quite a bit of positive coming from people that I don't even know so I'm just going to look at the positive. I expected controversy behind this but I'm looking at the positive."

Armstrong is working with the Department of Human and Cultural services Ten year plan to end homelessness for the nearly 700 people living on the streets of Jackson.

Chief Administrative Officer Robert Walker says Armstrong beat out nearly ten candidates for the job, over shadowing his controversial history, with the city.

During a press conference Walker said, "Why is it that we're resistant to giving other people forgiveness at an opportunity to get their lives together and move forward. Louis Armstrong wants to work, he wants to help this city."

Ward Two Councilman Leslie McLemore took Armstrong's seat on the council when he was ousted. Armstrong's one of a handful of convicted felons working for the city, including former councilman Robert Williams.

McLemore says, "I think it's important to give individuals who really made a mistake and have decided to go in another direction to give them an opportunity to prove themselves."