Argument heats up during Selma City Council Work Session

Published 9:42 am Monday, June 27, 2022

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A brief Citizen’s Request surprisingly developed into a 30-minute spat at the Selma City Council Work Session last Thursday.

Mark Neely addressed the city council about not receiving his last check by the City of Selma, May 27. Neely said Selma City Treasurer Terri Barnes-Smith told him that the May check is in the office of Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr.

Neither Neely nor the city council knew why Perkins was holding Neely’s check in the Mayor’s office. They all praised Neely for his outstanding work in their respective wards. Neely said he didn’t have a negative encounter with Perkins.

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The request took an unexpected turn when councilman Michael Johnson requested that City Council President Billy Young talk to Perkins and ask why Neely hasn;t gotten paid.

“It’s your job to talk to the Mayor and see what the problem is,” Johnson told Young. “Ask the Mayor why Neely hasn’t been paid.”

Young fired back and told Johnson that he was wrong about being required to talk with Perkins.

“You said it’s my job to talk to the Mayor, you haven’t presented me with any documents,” Young said. “You want to know why you haven’t? Because the documents and resolutions don’t exist. I don’t have a loyalty to the Mayor nor the city council. I have a loyalty to the citizens of Selma, whether they noted for me or they didn’t vote for me.”

Young also told Johnson that he’s upfront when it comes to Queen City business. Johnson recently had a ZOOM call with Perkins and 10 Department heads.

“I don’t get behind closed doors and do backhand deals,” Young said. “My yes is a yes and my no is a no. I do things in a business way and I’m upfront about that.”

Johnson also said Dawn Taylor, Executive Assistant to the Mayor, sent an email to the council that stated Perkins hasn’t gotten contacted by them during two years in office.

The subject switched to business items, which will be voted at the city council meeting on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Among the business items:

-Mandy Henry being voted to the Selma Redevelopment Authority Board, replacing former Dallas County District Court Judge Bob Armstrong.

Councilman Clay Carmichael made the recommendation.

-Resolution R210-21/22, Personnel Board Appointments came up for discussion.

Councilwoman Christie Thomas is recommending Carolyn Bates and Curtis Wimberly for Personnel Board Appointments.