MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - In a surprising move to many, Moss Point Mayor Billy Broomfield has vetoed the appointment of Calvin Hutchins as chief of police. The board of aldermen voted 4-3 to hire the Pascagoula sergeant during Tuesday night's meeting. He was set to replace Keith Davis, who resigned this summer after not seeing eye-to-eye with Broomfield.
Hutchins celebration as the new police chief of his hometown didn't last long. Less than 24 hours after being hired, Broomfield rejected the board's vote.
"I want citizens to know what my veto is based on is purely who brings what to the table to get Moss Point to the next level," Broomfield said.
According to Hutchins' resume, he worked for Moss Point police in the early 1990s then transferred to Pascagoula. He is now the sergeant over the criminal investigation division. Broomfield said Hutchins still doesn't have what it takes to hold the top law enforcement spot in Moss Point.
"The candidate that they chose, in my opinion, does not have the administrative experience, the training and certification that is required for the position, and that is why I vetoed it," Broomfield said.
Resident Sharon Smith strongly disagrees with the mayor.\
"I am appalled that this is even a matter that this has occurred. It is so unnecessary," Smith said.
She said Hutchins' 20 years in law enforcement and his hometown roots make him more than qualified.
"We are tired of Moss Point being a training ground for people to come and get their experience and move on. We need someone who is going to come, stay with us, help correct the problems and remain here," Smith said.
Resident Daisy Jackson was also surprised by the veto and said it's frustrating city leaders can't agree on a chief.
"The veto, I don't understand about that, but my point of view is we need to do the right thing to get a person in here to save our city," Jackson said.
Broomfield still defends his decision.
"If I don't make sure I have the right personnel in the right places, I have done a disservice to the citizens," Broomfield said.
WLOX called Hutchins to get his reaction about the veto. He said the mayor has the power to make those decisions, and he will allow the process to work itself out.
Deputy Chief Art McClung, who was also a candidate for the job, will continue to run the department until a decision is made on a new chief.
A board meeting will be held Sept. 2. The aldermen will then have the chance to override or uphold Broomfield's veto.