Governor Phil Bryant signed SB #2587 last week. The new law cuts off all municipal funding for interim appointments who serve over six months and require confirmation by the legislative branch. The bill was authored by Senator Josh Harkins (R-JMAA). The new law will go into effect on July 1. There is no "grandfather clause". A city will be barred from paying an interim appointment's salary if he has served over six months in that position on July 1. The state auditor can recover the funds expended in violation of the law. The bill states:
AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT NO PERSON SHALL SERVE IN AN INTERIM OR HOLD-OVER CAPACITY FOR LONGER THAN 180 DAYS AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE TERM TO WHICH HE OR SHE WAS APPOINTED IN CERTAIN POSITIONS ON MUNICIPAL BOARDS, COMMISSIONS OR AUTHORITIES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) No person shall serve in an interim or hold-over capacity for longer than one hundred eighty (180) days after the expiration of the term to which he or she was appointed in a position that is required by law to be filled by appointment of the governing body of a municipality, or by mayoral appointment with the advice and consent of the council or aldermen, including positions on boards, commissions or authorities.
(2) If such position is not filled within one hundred eighty (180) days after the expiration of the term, no municipal funds may be expended to compensate any person serving in the position.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2016.
Kingfish note: This bill strengthens checks and balances in municipal government. Mayors have sought to avoid getting nominations confirmed by city councils or boards of aldermen by making interim appointments. The "interim" appointment would then serve as if he were a permanent appointment. Mayors Johnny Dupree, Frank Melton and Harvey Johnson were all guilty of using this tactic to avoid the checks and balances. It will be interesting to see how many interim appointments are willing to work for free.