Gautier councilwoman fights to keep seat

Gautier, MS (WLOX) - "The state constitution is very clear, there  three branches of government and you can only serve on one."

Councilman Dick Paul says as long as Ginger Lay is employed by Singing River Hospital, a county entity, she shouldn't be allowed to serve on the Gautier City Council.

He says it was a constituent who brought up Lay's ethics violation.

"Then I discussed with the mayor as to what to do next, and he suggested that we get an Attorney General's opinion. The Attorney General stated that definitely there was a conflict. Working for the county owned hospital makes her working in the executive branch of government, and sitting on the council places here in the legislative branch," Councilman Dick Paul said.

Paul is very familiar Lay's dilemma; back in 2006, he was forced to choose between serving on Pascagoula School Board and the council.  He says it's only right that Lay have to make that same choice.

"I am sure she will pick one of the options that's appropriate."

Councilwoman Lay says if is up to her she won't be leaving her district one job anytime soon. Lay plans to explore all her legal options before making a decision.

"There is an old saying, it is not over until the fat lady sings, I am old enough to understand research needs to be done," Councilwoman Ginger Lay said.

Lay says she had no idea she could be breaking the rules, and she's sorry this issue has blown up during the city's recovery time. Lay admits she is not surprised and hopes this problem will be resolved in a fair and timely manner.

"Spending three and half years on the council and the experiences in my life, you just never know what people are going to do," Lay said.

"It is not a matter of if it is fair, it is a matter of it legal and within the law," Paul said.