Mayor: City Council’s dismantling City Government

Published 4:49 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2023

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Selma Mayor James Perkins  strongly opposed the Selma City Council adopting the 2022-2023 Fiscal Year budget at Tuesday’s City Council meeting,

Perkins held a press conference on Wednesday at the Council Chambers, saying the city council is dismantling the city government.

Under the city council’s adopted budget, Perkins said four positions were defunded: IT Department, Parks and Recreation, Legal Department, and Tax and License. Twenty-seven people and 57 positions were also eliminated, including four Selma Police  Department officers and seven Selma Fire Department officers.

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Perkins said he was concerned after seeing the city council’s adopted budget Wednesday morning, so he called the press conference.

“I didn’t know what was in the budget until  I saw it this morning,” Perkins said. “These are positions we need. People affected by this won’t be able to pay their bills and take care of their families.”

Perkins said the city council didn’t send him a copy of their adopted budget.

“They never had a meeting about the budget, I’m questioning the ethics of this council,” Perkins said. “You’ve got five members passing a budget, there’s something wrong here.”

Perkins said he presented the city council a budget in July, but they rejected it.

“We’ve been going back and fourth since,” Perkins said. “I want the people to think about  the Mayor’s  proposed budget for the people.”

Selma City Council President Billy Young reacted to Perkins’ statement about the budget prpcess.

“At Tuesday’s meeting, the Mayor repeatedly requested that the Council vote on a budget,” Young said.

“The Council unanimously approved a budget. The approved budget included a much needed raise for many of our employees that have been overlooked for decades.   In a few months, we will start the process for next year’s budget.”

Council members Lesia James and Michael Johnson appeared at the press conference and voiced their displeasure about the adopted budget. 

James explained why she voted fr the adopted budget.

“I voted because I wanted to see the employees get their raises,” James said. “I don’t see taking a whole department out. I  understand the Mayor’s frustration.”

Johnson wasn’t present at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I saw nothing wrong with the Mayor’s budget,” Johnson said “I supported the Mayor’s budget 100 percent. This is not the Mayor’s first rodeo. This is his third rodeo. You’ve got city council members in office for the first time.”

Johnson issued a challenge to his city council mates.

“Ask the city council to defund our pay,” Johnson said.  “I’ve got a job. I’m not here for the money. We’re not doing our jobs.”

Perkins said  the city council of  doing this against him.

“They’re not hurting me, they’re hurting the people,” Perkins said. “The people need to stand up and fight back. I’ve been concerned about this for a long time.”

Perkins also said President Joe Biden will help with the infrastructure of Selma if the local governments work together, but the city council is preventing that.