Two supervisors want Callaway appointment rescinded

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 9, 2000

The two Warren County supervisors who voted against the choice of their three colleagues for a county job said Tuesday they want the vote rescinded.

District 2 Supervisor Michael Mayfield said L.W. “Bump” Callaway was not the best applicant to replace Luther Warnock Jr., who retired last month after 23 years as head of the Warren County and Vicksburg’s Emergency Management Agency.

Callaway, coroner for 25 years, was appointed by the board Monday.

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“They committed a wrong and I am hoping they will rescind their vote and do it properly,” Mayfield said.

Callaway was one of five people who applied for the position and interviewed with supervisors. The other applicants were Lynn Marsalis, E-911 director; Billy Riddle, address coordinator; Jimmy Brooks, emergency management director of operations; and Gwen Knox Coleman, emergency management administrative officer.

“None of these people were given proper consideration,” by the board, Mayfield said.

District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon joined Mayfield in opposing the appointment of Callaway in Monday’s vote. Selmon said he too believes Coleman was the best person for the job and that the hiring process was not fair to the other applicants.

“The problem I have with this whole thing is that it was a setup from the start,” Selmon said.

Mayfield said Coleman, who has worked 21 years in the emergency management agency, should have been appointed to the position. He called the decision to hire Callaway nothing more than “back-room politics.”

“Mr. Callaway does not know enough to come in and take over that department,” he said.

Coleman would not comment.

Selmon said he thinks the decision to hire Callaway for the position was made even before the county began accepting applications for the job.

“Most of the time people are chosen (for positions with the county) months before we’ve taken any applications,” he said.

As coroner, Callaway was elected directly by voters and paid on a fee basis. No salary has been set for when he takes over as director of emergency management, Richard George, District 5 supervisor and board president, said Monday. Warnock had been paid $9,500 annually.

Selmon said that although the entire board had not yet discussed salary for Callaway; he was certain the other three members of the board who voted for his appointed had already decided his pay. The annual salary for Callaway is expected to approach $50,000, Selmon said.

Callaway will resign his position as coroner before taking on the new position. A new coroner will have to be elected during the next countywide voting, which will be the presidential election in November.