Moss Point residents begin effort to change form of government - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Moss Point residents begin effort to change form of government

Martha Watjus explains the details of the city manager form of government. She says the government set up that's been around for the city's entire 115-year history, is antiquated. Martha Watjus explains the details of the city manager form of government. She says the government set up that's been around for the city's entire 115-year history, is antiquated.
MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) -

Some Moss Point residents are ready to throw out a 115-year-old form of government in their city in hopes it will end buddy systems and increase transparency.

Resident Kathy Lips wants to end the mayor/board of alderman form of government.

Thursday's inaugural meeting to discuss the change drew more than 20 people. And, like many of those who attended, she thinks a city manager form of government will help the city make progress.

“I lived away from here for 30 years and I moved back in 2009,” Lips said. “And I was quite surprised to see that the city had not gone anywhere in 30 years.”

Resident Martha Watjus says it’s simply time.

“I believe because of the complexities of finance and contracts and all the business part of running the government now....we need to move forward with somebody who is trained and a professional in city planning and city management," said Watjus.

The meeting was set up by alderman Wayne Lennep, who says the interest is not new.

“This has been something I’ve seen interest in for quite a while,” Lennep said. “....when Ocean Springs, our friends over there started talking about it, it kind of stirred us up again.”

This is just the first step. The effort must collect signatures from 10 percent of registered voters - about 1,100 people - before it can be brought before the mayor and board of aldermen. It then would go before the public for a vote.

Lennep says he hopes to have enough signatures and certified in time so the mayor and board will have to take it up before the end of the year. Once the signatures are certified, the board must act within 60 days.

Five of the seven cities in the state that have a city manager form of government are in South Mississippi.

Resident Billy Knight reminded the group of a basic tenet behind good government.

“Either one of these systems are good,” Knight said. “But if you don’t have good elected officials within those governments, you’re still not going to be happy."

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly