Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Trash Talk: City Council Sues Mayor

Another front opened in the Rubbish Royale of Jackson as the City Council asked a Hinds County Chancellor to bar Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba from vetoing negative votes of the Council.  

The City Council rejected an emergency, one-year no-bid garbage collection contract for Richard's Disposal on a 4-3 vote on  April 1.  However, Mayor Lumumba vetoed the negative vote and awarded the contract to Richard's Disposal.  An attempt to override the "veto" failed on a 4-3 vote.  

The Council argues the veto allows the Mayor to run Jackson by "minority rule" as he can veto any negative vote that does not have a super-majority.  Such vetoes violate the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of municipal government. The Council cites several Attorney General opinions in support of its petition.  However, such opinions have no force of law and it appears those opinions relate to cities governed by Boards of Aldermen, not City Councils.  

The Council asked the Court to allow Richard's Disposal to continue collecting garbage during the "crisis" due to public health concerns. 

The complaint seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions against the Mayor's use of a veto to override negative votes.  Attorneys John Scanlon and Deshun Martin represent the Council.  The case is assigned to Chancellor Dewayne Thomas.  

Synopsis: How we got here

The whole mess by Jess originates in the war between the City Council and Mayor over the garbage contract.  The dispute wound up in Hinds County Chancery Court and was assigned to Special Chancellor Jess Dickinson. The Chancellor ruled on the case but inserted a dastardly little footnote into the opinion.  JJ reported in March: 

The Chancellor ruled Thursday Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba must obtain City Council approval for all contracts whether they be of the emergency or non-emergency variety.  However, the jurist ruminated into the penumbras and threw this little hand grenade in the third footnote of his order: 

For clarity, there does exist a possible exception not presented in this case thus far, where the Council rejects an emergency contract presented by the Mayor, the Mayor exercises his veto of the rejection, and the Council overrides the veto. The Mayor then would have the option of engaging the judicial system, claiming the Council was arbitrary and capricious in overriding the veto.

The footnote provided everything but clarity. Ever the opportunist,  the Mayor pulled that pin and threw the hand grenade at the City Council during a special meeting Friday.  City Council President Virgi Lindsay called a special meeting of the City Council yesterday to approve an emergency one-year no-bid contract with Richard's Disposal for garbage collection services.   The City Council voted 4-3 twice to reject the contract.  

Seizing upon the little footnote, Mayor Lumumba vetoed the City Council's rejection of the contract in accordance with Judge Dickinson's footnote as the Council members Ashby Foote, Vernon Hartley, Kenneth Stokes, and a belligerent Aaron Banks watched in disbelief. ...

The Chancellor realized no one asked him whether contract rejections were subject to a Mayor's veto and decreed "Upon review of the pleadings, the court recognizes that this precise question was not presented to the court and the court should not have addressed it in dicta."  

Judge Dickinson vacated the March 31 order and issued a new one.  He said the Mayor can hire a vendor on an emergency basis but must still present the contract to the City Council for approval.  The City Council can not amend the emergency order but can only approve or reject the order.  Only the Mayor can negotiate a garbage collection contract. 

Anxious to keep his precious new toy, Mayor Lumumba sued for a declaratory judgment in Hinds County Circuit Court on April 4: 


The Mayor hereby requests that the Court enter a judgment and declare the following:

( 1) That a negative vote by the City Council constitutes and official action of the council;

(2) That the City Council's vote to reject a contract submitted by the Mayor is an ordinance that has been adopted by the council; and,

(3) That the Mayor has authority to veto both affirmative and negative actions of the City Council.

Mayor Lumumba defended the veto at a press conference that day, claiming the statute used in the footnote was still applicable so he would veto any votes that rejected paying Richard's Disposal for collecting garbage. 

Judge Peterson transferred the case to Judge Dickinson on April 5. However, Mayor Lumumba filed a motion for reconsideration on April 14.  

Judge Peterson said the entire controversy arose out of the Chancellor's opinion so the Chancery Court should be the court that adjudicates as she rejected the motion.   Thus the War of the Veto will be fought in Chancery Court.  


Anonymous said...

The real money in Jackson is in replacing shot out windows and burying dead dead people.

Maybe Richards Corp. can open some subsidiaries.

Anonymous said...

"The Council asked the Court to allow Richard's Disposal to continue collecting garbage during the 'crisis' due to public health concerns".. .

and don't you know, with this one motion, Richard's gets the contract anyway. Does this also mean there is an implied contract now because of the "crisis?" Looks the the Crapital City has a new ineffective trash collector thanks to the Council after all...

Anonymous said...

Around and around we go where it stops nobody knows.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Jess Dickinson made this mess a lot messier by overtalking. I'm not surprised that he did this. He is not a particularly good judge and it is unfortunate that he was appointed to hear this case. Or hear anything. But I think it is worse than simply his incorrect statement in a footnote. I think he is determined not to make any kind of judicial ruling in this case to resolve these issues. I think he is determined to send it all back to the city for it to sort out. To that extent, he seems influenced by the chief justice's determination to keep the judiciary from deciding issues concerning the exercise of powers by the executive or legislative branches of government. Case in point is how Randolph handled Haley Barbour's pardons, some of which were granted without following the requirements of the constitution. Randolph's idea was that the governor's decision as to whether he complied or not was not reviewable. Jess Dickinson is not a deep thinker, but he is easily influenced by people like the chief justice, so I would expect him to rule in a similar way when it comes to the exercise of authority by the mayor, not recognizing or being able to recognize that Randolph's rejection of the right and necessity for judicial review of the way powers are exercised by governors and legislatures should not be relevant to what city governments do, and that in any event was wrong.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the council was let in on the deal.

Anonymous said...

A huge waste of time and taxpayers money. The council now admits that an "emergency" does exist and will be hard pressed to deny payment to Richards's for garbage pickup. The only veto of a negative action by the mayor thus far regards the emergency contract with Richard's which is now quasi-effective. So even if the judge rules the negative veto does not exist it does not matter since we are back to square one except that Richard's is now the only company authorized to pick up garbage. Looks like a victory for the mayor and his lawyers to me. Right?

Anonymous said...

the mayor won. it’s over. get used to richards service-they are here to stay

Anonymous said...

Council went weasel why? WM has offered to step in while rebidding / reswindling is sorted, so there is no "crisis" other than Lil Choke seizing a fake throne.

Anonymous said...

The Council asked the Court to allow Richard's Disposal to continue collecting garbage during the "crisis" due to public health concerns.

Literally entering the City of Jackson is a public health concern.

Anonymous said...

So basically the Council is mad because it can't get a super majority to override the Mayor's veto... so it decides to sue? Why don't they work together and come up with the super majority needed to override the veto. They have done it several times already.

Stupid Council!

Anonymous said...

The City Council is so damn weak. Why in the world are they giving Chokwe exactly what he wanted by giving in and paying Richard's? This debacle would have already been over with if they played hardball and made it be know that Richard's would not be getting paid.

Now, every contractor the Mayor prefers will pull the same trick and begin work without the City Council's approval knowing they will give in like cowards and pay up.

Kingfish said...

City Council sent notice that it would not pay before RD started collecting. It will refuse to pay claim. RD will sue and you can bet you will see #17 again in that lawsuit.

Of course, Council can always amend the complaint.

Anonymous said...

Looks as if the "council" got their share of the pot. Figures....but hey, y'all fell for the grift.

Anonymous said...


City Council can't override something that doesn't actually exist

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, what is a #17

Anonymous said...

So now the lawyers will simply generate more legal fees fighting over Jess Dickinson's unnecessay creation. Actually the mayor's lawyers got what they want but why not keep going and get paid. Who knows wat Jess might do next?

If I were Judge Thomas I would let Jess clean up his own mess. Just sayin'

Anonymous said...

Nostradamus here.

I called it when this began.

Chucky WILL win.

How anyone willingly lives in Jackson is utterly beyond comprehension.

Krusatyr said...

#17 in the Council's/ Plaintiff's complaint, as listed above.

Anonymous said...

I guess there was enough palm grease to go around. Now that happy days are here again maybe I will move back to NE Jackson.

Anonymous said...

In an alternate universe...
Imagine: WAPT is ABC news, WJTV is CBS news, WLBT is NBC news, and MsETV is PBS.

Imagine: Lumumba as Trump, and the City Council as the US Congress.

I wonder if Maggie, Howard, Scott Simmons, et al would be nodding their heads like dashboard dogs in agreement with Trump like their do now with Lumumba with no piercing questions?

Anonymous said...

The "City" hasn't sued anyone. A bunch of crooks elected by the city are. These asshats have never really represented the city including Ladumbo and a quick look around proves that. Maybe a group of citizens should get together and do some suing ! That will snap too some brains I bet.

Anonymous said...

This new lawsuit is a necessary step to get a ruling on whether the mayor can veto a decision of the counsel to take no action. This is not a disaster (yet).

Dickinson gave the mayor a crack, and he drove a truck through it. Dickinson then closed with case without allowing amended pleadings to place the issue before the court. Now the counsel needs a ruling on the issue.

Anonymous said...


"Imagine Lumumba as Trump"?

Unimaginable. Lil Choke is an all-in Obamunist.

Anonymous said...

10:54 Either way, Richard's is picking up garbage and they will get paid. Who's winning?

Anonymous said...

My popcorn will be ready to watch Dickinson toss more kerosene on thr fire.

Anonymous said...

Notion that this suit somehow is a defacto blessing of RD -- and thus they'll get paid -- is laughable. Dickinson should not be allowed to hear even one more case after this screw up.

Anonymous said...

I get tired everyone always critizing the Judge for simply following the law as the legislature enacted. Judge Dickinson's footnote is literally the law as enacted by the Legislature period whether you like it or not.

The Mayor's veto/override procedure is designed to break impasses between the Mayor and the Council. It does not give any greater power to the Mayor because the Council has the power to override the veto. And the veto/override procedure is the only method to ultimately get the matter before the Circuit Court via 11-51-75 if either is acting arbitrary or capricious and/or contrary to law in my opinion. It is not an affront to "democracy" as claimed by "some", it is democracy which includes the veto/override power in virtually every government.

If that is not the law then what is the procedure to break the impasse if the veto does not apply? If you follow some of the illogical arguments there would be no procedure to do so therefore you are just stuck and would go around in circles. I don't think that is the law nor is it even logical.

Miss. Code Ann.§ 21-8-47. defines the term “ordinance” shall be deemed to include ordinances, resolutions, orders and ANY OTHER OFFICIAL ACTIONS OF THE COUNCIL, except those procedural actions governing the conduct of the council’s meetings, appointing a clerk of council, and exercising the council’s investigative functions under Section 21-8-13(4). I don't know how clearer that could be, its plain and simple. Like it or not. If you don't like criticize the Legislature not the Judge who simply read the statute correctly.

The statute specifically and broadly defines "ordinance" to include "any other official actions of the council" but it also excepts certain actions as not being within the term "ordinance" so the veto power would specifically NOT apply to "procedural actions governing the conduct of the council’s meetings, appointing a clerk of council, and exercising the council’s investigative functions under Section 21-8-13(4)".

That's a pretty strong statement by the legislature as to it's intent don't you think?

Also you should compare Miss. Code Ann.§ 21-8-47 for Mayor/Council form of government to the Mayor/Alderman form of government as to the definition of "ordinance" under Miss. Code Ann.§ 21-3-15(3): The term “ordinance” as used in this section shall be deemed to include ordinances, resolutions and orders."

Miss. Code Ann.§ 21-8-47 definition is much broader than Miss. Code Ann.§ 21-3-15(3). The legislature clearly intended a broader veto power under § 21-8-47 than § 21-3-15(3). The legislature even went further under § 21-8-47 and excluded from the definition of "ordinance" certain actions of the city council to which veto does not apply.

I challenge any of you to find any language in the statute that says you can't veto a "no vote" or "negative vote". Its not there, so you make it up based upon some AG's opinions that do not address the statute involved.

Anonymous said...


If you take the council and others positions (no veto permitted of a negative or no vote), then the legislature's broader definition under § 21-8-47 would mean nothing. In my opinion the approval/disapproval of the contract is a not "negative or no vote", its an approval or not of a contract, which the council is required to "take official action" on. Some of you rather than criticize everyone else please make a coherent argument that such approval or disapproval required by law is not an "official action of the city council"?

To criticize Judge Dickinson is to ignore the plain language of the statute as enacted by the Legislature. the AG opinions do not interpret the above as some at least noted and do not apply to this statute or situation.

By way I am not from Jackson or Hinds County and got no dog in this fight, just cannot see everyone always bashing Judge Dickinson for a footnote on which he was absolutely correct and still is.

Now bash away and call me names, rather than have a civil discussion AMAZING.

Anonymous said...

@12:41, are you an attorney? Did you graduate from law School? Both civil questions.

Anonymous said...

literally laughing

there is not a competent attorney or judge that supports your lay assertions

Anonymous said...

May 12, 2022 at 10:57 AM, no, 9:52 is right. Lumumba is EXACTLY like Trump, egotistical, arrogant, narcissistic, endangering the people he was elected to serve... except he uses prettier meaningless words.

Anonymous said...

Thanks 12:40--ie Terry--I recognize your language;)

Anonymous said...

The burden of proof is on the mayor's counsel to prove the law specifically permits a veto of a no vote. The Council's Counsel is not burdened to prove a 'veto of a no vote' DOES NOT exist as approved procedure. The mayor's side must prove it DOES, and specifically so.

In American law/jurisprudence one does not go about proving a negative, non event, because one cannot. For example, prove that Civil War treasure is NOT buried in MS: you cannot. (Note: at one time in France, but never in USA, the accused had to prove he was not guilty.)

BTW, the Council still has not approved Lil Choke's "contract" with RD, which approval is specifically required.

Anonymous said...

12:40 and 12:41 The criticism of Judge Dickinson's handling of this matter does not stem from his interpretation of municipal procedure. It's raising
a problematic issue that neither party asked the Court to resolve. The mayor delivered the controversial veto gut-punch after the Judge suggested the questionable possibility, something the mayor has never done in any other situation in all the years of his reign. Judge has started a new fire instead of putting out the original fire. Other than that he's doing just great.

Anonymous said...

2:03 Big difference in the economy grew under Trump. Lumumba is a knife to the throat of Jackson's economy.

I don't give two hoots about Trump on Twitter. Life was much better under Trump than it is now.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, life was better under Trump. If by “better” you mean living in a constant state of crisis, never knowing if Dad is going to come home loaded after a rough day at the office and smash all the furniture.

Anonymous said...

1:25 pm yes I am an attorney and yes I graduated law school more years ago that I care to remember.

1:40 pm. No “competent attorney or judge” has cited ANY authority to the contrary and no one here has either. AG opinions on a different statute are NOT authority.

7:09 pm. There was nothing wrong with Judge Dickinson’s footnote except in dicta a correct statement of the law. I agree it is dicta but Court’s do such all the time and there is nothing wrong with it. In my opinion his only mistake was in withdrawing it instead of its dicta take it for what its worth. Everyone seems to be upset that the Mayor (who I do not know, support or anything else) followed the statute passed by the legislature or that the Judge advised, in dicta, what he plainly saw in the statute as I set forth above.

None of you seem to dispute the action of the city council in approval or disapproving of the garbage contract was an official action of the city council. If its not what was it????

Again can most on here please have a civil discussion without bashing each other bec you disagree!!!

Anonymous said...

Quote where law specifically says a mayor can veto a no vote.

A no vote is not an action, it's an erasure, wipe-out, demolition. Once a simple majority on Council votes NO on a motion, it is pfft, dead, gone. It means "We the Council DO NOT Enact the motion under consideration."

You want the mayor to resuscitate it? Under some circumstances, he can re-submit.

Didn't the Council reject RD four times?

Anonymous said...

A “no” vote is a nullification of a proposal for action, in my opinion.

Parsing semantics is right up this mayor’s alley, which is why we all need the court to rule on the issue. There’s a reason why it’s never been decided: it’s never been attempted, presumably because no one could do it with a straight face.

Anonymous said...

@7:12 go ahead and shove your complaints about 'civil discussion'. The discussion here is what it is and you are free to not engage if you don't like it. You could go over to MT where there is no discussion or over to the JFP where there is next to no discussion. Don't like it here, move on or start your own media property.

Anonymous said...

Snap outta your fugue.

It was Hillary who came home loaded, cussing, to smash furniture and throw dishes. At Bill for leaving a slime trail after raping, beating and abusing women.

Trump enabled energy independence, and opportunities for everyone, including minorities, to pursue prosperity in a growing economy.

Anonymous said...

11:35 and his/her/they /them's overtly dramatic attitudes crack me up.

I am no fan of Trump but if you really cried yourself to sleep amid his tenure and feel all warm and cozy under Pee Paw Biden, you genuinely need to seek medical attention for your mental health.

The factual reality simply does not support your previous fears, nor does the current administration factually support giving anyone peace of mind.

Its like we are living amid a pandemic of hysterical blindness.

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