Chemist named to Civil Service Commission
Published 12:00 am Friday, July 23, 2004
[7/10/04]The city board voted Friday to appoint a new member to the Civil Service Commission following the resignation of one member and weeks of uncertainty about its future.
Janice Carstafhnur, a chemist at Ergon Refining in Vicksburg and a member of the boards of directors for the Red Cross United Way, will join the commission at their next meeting at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Carstafhnur said she looks forward to serving the city on the commission.
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“It is just a blessing that we had someone willing to come up to the plate,” said North Ward Alderman Gertrude Young, who nominated Carstafhnur.
Carstafhnur is replacing Linda Sweezer who resigned this week after a Warren County judge ruled that she should not hear disciplinary cases brought before the commission by the police chief. Sweezer is pastor of the church Police Chief Tommy Moffett attends.
Judge Frank Vollor ruled last month in the appeal of two cases that it creates the appearance of a potential conflict of interest. Sweezer was one of three members on that board, and one of the remaining two members had also been asked to recuse himself from some cases involving officers he had worked with on the police department.
Attorneys for the city have appealed Vollor’s ruling, but an official opinion from the Attorney General’s Office found that the city cannot appoint alternate commission members or make a temporary appointment.
The commission has not taken up any disciplinary cases since the court order.
The specific case that brought the appeal was the firing of Officer Gary Cooper.
Cooper was first suspended and then discharged by Moffett for arresting a 19-year-old accused of violating the city ban on loud music and later releasing the teen without filing a charge. When the teen complained, he said he was first falsely accused and then given special treatment because of his last name.
At the same time, Sgt. Randy Blake, Cooper’s immediate superior, was suspended for three days for not taking action against Cooper.
In other matters the city board:
Presented the Senior Center senior of the month award to Lorene Arnold. Although not a member of the Senior Center, Arnold, the city’s purchasing director, spends her lunch hour twice a week teaching piano lessons at the center.
Approved the board meeting minutes for June 7, 10 and 14.
Authorized the contractor on the Clay Street signalization project to subcontract some of the work. It does not affect the cost of the project.
Received sealed bids for water and gas meters and accessories, elevator maintenance, polymer and portable chemical contamination control devices.
Amended the agreement with Neel Schaffer Inc. of Jackson to include additional design and construction services as part of the downtown art park project.
Allocated $3,719 to purchase items for National Night Out on Aug. 3.
Amended the fire department attendance policy to mimic the city’s policies.
Entered into a contract with Global Signal Company for the purchase of a generator for $1 to provide back-up power for the fire and police communication system.
Authorized the City Clerk to advertise for sealed bids for landscape supplies.
Approved the claims docket.
The city board will meet again at 10 a.m. July 19 at City Hall Annex.