Monday, June 11, 2018

Tears & Fears in Pelahatchie

Some of the Pelahatchie Solons went into damage control at a secret press conference at Penn's Fish House in Brandon on May 30.   The Jackson Free Press reported

A former Pelahatchie city clerk choked back tears in the backroom of Penn's Fish House in Brandon, as she described the events that caused her to walk out of the job on March 7. Ruby Burns-Ward said Mayor Ryshonda Harper Beechem created an environment of fear in City Hall, so she left a job she loved.

"I told the aldermen, I will not work by myself with her (Beechem)," Burns-Ward said. "She would text us at all times of the night. Any little thing that you said to her would set her off. I lived in constant fear. All day long, it was like she would try to set you up."

Ward One Alderman Michael Adams, former Mayor Knox Ross Jr., retired City Clerk Bettye Massey, Mayor Pro Tem Margie Warren, along with Burns-Ward, sat down with for an interview with the Jackson Free Press and The Clarion-Ledger on May 30, the first time many of them spoke to media since the failed audit was announced.

The day before Burns-Ward walked out, along with the other city clerk, Ellen Davis, Beechem sent a letter to all city employees. Prior to sending it, she emailed a copy to her attorney Thomas Bellinder, documents show... Rest of a rather colorful article.

 The Clarion-Ledger provided an account of the meeting as well:

The Rankin County town of 1,353 has been under siege by infighting between its mayor and Board of Aldermen ever since it elected Ryshonda Harper Beechem, its first African-American mayor,last June.

"It's a total breakdown of trust. When that happens, the city grinds to a halt," former Mayor Knox Ross said.

But May 30, Ross, Alderwoman Margie Warren, Alderman Michael Adams, former city clerk Bettye Masse and former deputy clerk Ruby Ward presented a united front about the auditor's investigation, and against allegations that race is playing a role in their dealings with Beechem, which has been speculated.

"Every time we turn around she's talking to the media or posting to Facebook. We've never had anything like this. You couldn't make a movie this good," Adams said.

Adams, the town's first African-American alderman, said the source of the conflict has more to do with Beechem's confrontational attitude with the board, and a misunderstanding of the town's system of government.

"The mayor seems to be operating by force of personality. It's incumbent upon the mayor to work with the board, especially with the kind of government we have. That hasn't happened," Adams said.

Ross, who served 16 years as mayor of Pelahatchie, said the town has a "co-charter" system of government, which gives most power to the board, such as the ability to override mayoral vetoes. He described the role of the city clerk in Pelahatchie as the "de facto city manager."

But in Pelahatchie, all three town clerks left shortly after Beechem took office. The former deputy clerk, Ruby Burns-Ward — who served for about seven years — described an allegedly hostile workplace where Beechem wrote her up for perceived infractions. It all culminated in a confrontation between the two that led to the police being called....

Town officials also speculated that Beechem was determined to clean house as payback for her mother, Laverne Harper, losing her job with the Pelahatchie Police Department under what they called suspicious circumstances.

Ross said Harper, a clerk who oversaw ticket fees and fines, was let go in 2016 for refusing to follow department procedures. Beechem announced her decision to run for mayor shortly afterward.

"I never said that. I never thought that. I'm a resident and I love my town. That's why I ran. For them to say that, it says they didn't even give me a chance," Beechem said.

The board announced the decision to cut salaries in February without any warning to its mayor. It cut Beechem's pay by 75 percent and aldermen pay by 50 percent. The mayor and aldermen now make the same pay, which is very rare in Mississippi.

Warren said the board didn't want to cut into the salaries of full-time town workers, but because of a financial crunch, had to make cuts somewhere. It isn't the first time the board has cut their own salary. Ross worked without pay his last term as mayor.

"We had to do that," Adams said. "Now, because of the investigation, it looks like we're going to have to trim even more."

Beechem, on the other hand, disputes the town was in that bad of a financial situation. She noted the town stood to save more than $100,000 a year with the resignations of the three city clerks. ....

Ross has hired an attorney to argue for the town in the state auditor's probe. Ross said the board acted on the advice of its CPA and followed protocols not unfamiliar to similarly sized towns. He said he was surprised the auditor's office didn't contact him or other board officials during the investigation.

"We were surprised by the action, as we believed, and continue to believe based on the audits and subsequent additional review of the fund operations by our certified public accountant, that we were operating within the law ... The funds were all spent on public purposes for the benefit of our town," Ross said in a letter to Pickering's office.

"There was nothing illegal or improper. No money went missing, there's been no embezzlement," he said. Rest of article.
Kingfish note:  The Board called a special meeting for 6:00 tonight.  Interesting.   This meeting with the press was scheduled to take place at a pizza place in Brandon then was switched to Penn's late that afternoon.  Hmmm.... the only reporters who were told about it were the ones who have been to exactly one Board meeting.  The one who comes to every meetings, posts the unedited videos and board  packets online for everyone to see is somehow ignored.  Draw your own conclusions.  Shades of Mac.


Anonymous said...

sounds like the good ole people down in Pelahatchie just can't stand a mayor whos calling them to be accountable for their actions. she's actually trying to be a mayor and they just will not have it.

Anonymous said...

Those White people moved away from black people.

They woke up one day and now their mayor is black.

Those white people are apoplectic now that they have a black mayor...who got the law right.

It’s like acid is being poured down their backs and they can’t make it stop.

Anonymous said...

people tryin to keep thangs like they always was

Antard said...

Bust it up at the door!

Anonymous said...

They know she is going to expose them and their crooked ways. They are used to handling business the "good ole" way, but the mayor is here to shed light on their dirty deeds. Clean House Mayor!!!!!! Oh yeah.... To say they are scared (feared for their safety) is laughable.

Anonymous said...

There should have been an investigation started many years ago. $82,000 salaries in one of the smallest towns in the state are an obvious sign of something seriously wrong.

Anonymous said...

It would be very hard for me to work for nothing and put up with these headaches.

However, doing so says a lot about how much the residents really love their town.

Anonymous said...

Donna just can’t let it go, can she?

Anonymous said...

1. It is "code charter", not "co-charter".

2. The board does not possess "most power".

3. The clerk is not the city manager, de facto or other.

4. Knox Ross is caught and trying to cover his ass.

Anonymous said...

First former mayor said money was spent on items for the whole city now he’s saying that it was only spent on the police dept, seems like the new mayor is correct

Anonymous said...'s white people calling BS on this crap these good ole boys are doing. Including Kingfish. Give it a break.

Anonymous said...

Take the next bus to Parchman
And I'll take you to the station
You be ready by four-thirty
'Cause they made your reservation, don't be slow
Oh, no, no, no
Oh, no, no, no

And I don't know if you ever coming home
Take the next bus to Parchman
Take the next bus to Parchman
Take the next bus to Parchman
Take the next bus to Parchman

Anonymous said...

Even the blacks on the city council oppose the black mayor. Nice try 4:44... race baited are you! Clearly you lack perspective. Even the Mississippi NAACP has opposed the black mayor as she endorsed Guest. Seriously you haven't a clue. I also guess it was the 11% population of blacks in the nation that voted in Obama. Your a total moron if you believe any of what you posted.

Anonymous said...

KF, who is the CPA. Asking for a friend.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU 8:15. Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

"If it's the law, it's the law and if it's a statue, it's a statue." (and she sent a copy to an attorney?)

The woman is a nut-job who enjoys her fleeting moment of perceived power over people. She actually thinks these peons work for her and are there to respond to her wishes and autocracy. She's a nut-job but I've already said that.

BTW, there's a really nice statue just a few miles west in the middle of Brandon and once Pelahatchie annexes Brandon, she'll get rid of it.

Anonymous said...

The new minority speaks again.

Cue the Peons said...

CODE CHARTERS - Duties of the mayor; authority of the board of aldermen

(1) The mayor shall preside at all meetings of the board of aldermen, and in case there shall be an equal division, shall give the deciding vote. The executive power of the municipality shall be exercised by the mayor, and the mayor shall have the superintending control of all the officers and affairs of the municipality, and shall take care that the laws and ordinances are executed.

Anonymous said...

For anyone else interested, this is an interesting read on the different forms of municipal governments in the state of Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see how the meeting last night is portrayed on here or if it even gets posted. Mrs mayor did not show up. Looks as though there was 8,800 dollar expenditure approved by someone other than the board. Just so happens the mayor does not show up to this meeting. Like I've been saying for a while, stir the pot long enough and your gonna get some on yourself. Someone's gonna be in hot water just waiting on the squeal.

Anonymous said...

Ross was a very good mayor. Smart and had a vision. May have tried to spend the drug money a little too broadly but still on legal public matters. This could have been worked out without all this hell if that was the real problem. Ross may able to step in and help fix this. The current Mayor is totally out of her league and know nothing about how to manage a town.

Anonymous said...

She's making a fool of herself on Facebook. She will sooner or later be exposed.

Anonymous said...

"Ross has hired **an attorney to argue for the town** in the state auditor's probe."


Knox doesn't have that authority.

Anonymous said...

And, now, Pelahatchie is without the services of an attorney yet again. Mills resigned.

Anonymous said...

May have tried to spend the drug money a little too broadly but still on legal public matters.

As noted here on JJ the law is very specific. The money can not be spent elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish refuses to allow post from people who are from Pelahatchie or the surrounding areas who are trying to tell what's really going on. Instead he is relying on the mayor herself and her pot stirring personal atty to tell their side of the story. He pawns the excuse off on worrying about a slander or liable lawsuit(which isn't out of character for those trying to make this about race, the mayor and her atty) instead he's making he agenda known all while living in Jackson and pretending he's a lawyer. No one will even do business with the city. The county doesn't help anymore, and any growth that was going on has halted. Her quest for revenge is costing this town more than helping.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish refuses to allow post from people who are from Pelahatchie or the surrounding areas who are trying to tell what's really going on.

Why don't you start your own information outlet and tell the story the way you want free from encumbrance? It is free and a more productive use your time versus boring us with the bunched wad problem you keep carping about here.

Anonymous said...

@10:13 - If you don't like how Kingfish runs his OWN blog, go start your own.

Anonymous said...

sounds like “old pelahatchie” just can’t stand the uppidy new mayor..

Anonymous said...

I posted about the 857 comment and you want post it because your a weak peace of trash. It had backbone to it and went against your storylines. Let's just put this plane and simple. If the mayor approved the 8800 hundred dollar expenditure without the boards approval then she will be in a crunch. Criminal offense. Just so happens she put it on the claims docket and now that the shit hit the fan she did not show and your chicken shit self dang sure not gonna sniff that trail out. Every dog has there day some days are lighter than others but looks like there is storm coming. And when that storm comes I bet little blogger kF want be anywhere to find as he will be moved on to find him some more cronies to side with.

Anonymous said...

Typical situation where a person runs for Mayor and then tries to run everything but finds out the board has the power after they take office. I do advise you people to understand what it costs to have a competent bookkeeper/city clerk working for you. Gone are the days where $34,000 hires you a knowledgeable person. The decent knowledgeable people start at $50,000 and go up for almost all jobs and we are fighting to keep those.

The board is a mix of all people and they seem to be doing a good job. Beecham is trying to get revenge for her mother being fired. Why else would she have changed her voting to Pelahatchie 2 weeks before qualifying to run for Mayor? If the board moved the money to shore up other accounts and the attorney or CPA ok'ed I would get them for malpractice.

Anonymous said...

Well I guess he can run his own blog and censor comments as he sees fit so long as it fits his agenda. My take is, if you're going to allow comments, then don't censor based upon content so long as its relevant and not vulgar or vile. It makes it look like you have a rub with someone when you don't allow the other side to speak. And if everyone had to "start their own blog" to get their views and information out, then we wouldn't get anything accomplished and we would water down the blog style news source. If he's going to be the authority and have people "in the know" commenting, one of the best attributes of his blog, then he doesn't need to be censoring comments that, while possibly differing from the source he is reporting for, most likely have a good bit of truth to them.

Anonymous said...

My take is start your own damn gig and stop whining. It makes you look like a crybaby.

Anonymous said...

Seems like you people are trying to take out vengeance on Beecham for giving the phrase "Pelasnatchie" a whole new meaning.

Not really worthy of a book yet, but the title of the song would most definitely be "snatching in the snatch." Y'all have fun playing victim now, ya hear? It's quite amusing.

Using drug money to pay the bills....pffft.

Anonymous said...

This mayor is both a crap starter and crap stirrer. She wants to play a victim but is just playing the same game as most of Jackson’s “leaders”. She needs to be recalled.

Anonymous said...

well it doesn't look like JJ is going to comment on the Mayor trying to get the 8,600 bill passed without board approval. The mayor keeps saying she follows the law. Well if you look when you get something over 5000 dollars then you have to have bids. Its my understanding and I do know the law in this is you must have bids. Well I am sorry Ms Mayor you didn't get any bids. This is against the law. Sorry you are not following the law. What you think about this JJ or you going to stay quite.

Kingfish said...

Actually I'm working on a post right now about last night. Let me see, Ms. Trash, here is my schedule yesterday. Hinds County Election Commission at 10:30. That lasted two hours. Mayor's press conference at 2:30. That lasted awhile. Then came to your board meeting at 6. It takes at least an hour to download all that video. Then have to process and upload. That all takes time. Already planned on running with the school bond story first today.

But don't worry, a post about last night is going up in a little while but it's going to have a nugget of information you really won't like.

As for your comments I won't approve. Well, you keep making statements about why an employee is no longer employed that I can't verify. Personnel records are exempt from the public records laws. The minutes don't contain anything about it and guess what? No aldermen or women will go on the record to discuss it.

However, I will make a deal with you. If you want to keep this up, forget comments. I will park a video camera right in front of you. It will be posted here. Deal?

Kingfish said...

Oh, and Queen of Trash, you can't have it both ways. You held a press conference two weeks ago and made a point to exclude me from the press conference. You can't accuse me of ignoring your side when you pull this kind of crap but I suspect you are doing your best impersonation of a tree at the end of a runway.

Antard said...

I love this blog

Anonymous said...

Blog is a software platform, a means of distribution.

JJ is a media outlet.

Anonymous said...

If you want to leave a comment that KF won't post, Mr./Mrs./Ms. Anonymous, why don't you try submitting it with your name on it so that everyone knows who you are and what you want him to say for you?

Or, better yet, get some actual evidence to back up your claims. It's called proof. Get some, and then, I guarantee, Anonymous or not, he will run with your story if the evidence you provide can be verified.

Anything less than that is called a rumor. Go back to 8th grade if that's what you expect---or quit reading the blog. Better yet, if that's what you expect, quit posting on the blog over and over and over and over and over and over.

It's pretty obvious you only started reading JJ when your little neck of the woods became the center of attention, or you would know that KF doesn't give a damn who is right and who is wrong, and he doesn't blink at stepping on some big toes, but he's not going to post what he "heard" just to make you think he's fair.

Say what you gotta say. Just attach your name and give all of the rest of us Anonymi some evidence.

You want him to "man up?" Why don't you try it, and then see what happens?

Puss Patrol said...

There are always a handful of pussies who defend Kingfish and his selective radar. Never fails. They ooze out of the woodwork like green slime and recommend that whoever doesn't like their post being canned should start his own blog. It's almost daily.

"Kingfish; Why did you censor or not allow my comment?"

"Because you used the word pussies and it reflected poorly on my lieutenants".

Anonymous said...

Another complaining eunuch @ 3:22.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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