MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Moss Point's Board of Aldermen is asking for the Attorney General's opinion on whether Mayor Billy Broomfield broke the law when he vetoed the recent appointment of Calvin Hutchins as police chief. The rejection came less than 24 hours after the board's vote, leading some to call the move premature.
Alderman Wayne Lennup made the motion to seek out the AG's opinion.
"I had seen some other attorney general opinions that led me to believe that the mayor had made his veto too soon," Lennup said. "In our form of government, in the way the motion was passed, I believe the veto should not have been made until after the minutes were approved. And that would have been the following week."
The Take Back Our Town Citizens of Moss Point Coalition was also at Tuesday's meeting. Its members agree an outside opinion is needed. In fact, the group was the first to raise the question about the mayor's veto to city leaders.
"It was an overwhelming outcry that the constituents wanted Calvin Hutchins as the new chief of police," one group member said. "And due to the veto of the mayor is the reason why we don't have Hutchins as the chief of police. If that was the case and it was a mistake... we can have that overturned."
According to city attorney Amy St. Pe, a 2012 AG's opinion backs the mayor's rejection of the appointment. According to that opinion, the mayor is not required to wait until the final approval of the meeting minutes.
Still, many of the citizens at Tuesday's meeting and some board members want an opinion that specifically answers their question.
The city attorney said it could take 30 to 60 days to get an opinion on the issue. Currently, Art McClung is interim chief of the Moss Point Police Department.