MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - It's a battle in Moss Point as leaders head back to the drawing table for a new police chief.
Mayor Mario King said the city's Board of Aldermen voted against appointing interim chief Brandon Ashley to the top post.
It's a he-said, he-said in Moss Point as city leaders clash over the issue.
Ward One Alderman Sherwood Bradford said the vote did not happen at Tuesday night's meeting. "We didn't vote against Brandon. We didn't vote for Brandon. We voted not to give the police chief position civil service protection," said Bradford.
Mayor King said a vote on Ashley did take place. He stated, "Alderman Sherwood Bradford decided that. We had it on there, the positive move to offer civil service to our chiefs, and he bought in the negative and switched it around."
Something the two can agree on is that a vote happened on whether or not the next police chief should be offered civil service protection.
It was voted down.
Alderman Bradford was asked why he voted against it. "First of all, we didn't have enough time to consider it. It was a rush job. Second of all, if we offer the police chief civil service protection and something comes up, this is my concern, something comes up between him and an officer, who's gonna get the protection?" Bradford said.
The mayor also said he believes race is hindering some big decisions in his city.
"Race plays a part in decisions that are being made. I'm not confident that they are but we really need to understand what that is to make sure we're not allowing ourselves those accusations of other people," Mayor King said.
Two aldermen refuted King's statement, saying race is not a factor.
"This is not about race. If Brandon is the best candidate, he's going to get the job," said Bradford.
Now it's back to the drawing board. Mayor King said there are three candidates up for chief, including Ashley. He's looking at candidates' experience, work ethic, and background.
"We're continuing to do the search," the mayor said. "That's what the board has required, and so I will follow board orders. Brandon Ashley still is at the top of my list."
Bradford said his main concern is curbing crime."We're looking for somebody who can get this city under control. It could be Brandon. It could not be Brandon," he added.
Mayor King told WLOX the board was ready to add civil service protection when it okayed a deal to bring Keith Davis back as police chief. Davis ultimately decided not to take the job.
King says he'll bring up the civil service issue and offer a name for police chief again at the next board meeting on April 2.