Ward 4 Alderwoman Elizabeth Thomas said she wants a new vote on who will serve as mayor pro-tem.
Ward 1 Alderman Ron Johnson currently serves in the position, which means he would preside as mayor in the mayor’s absence and would fulfill the mayor’s duties in the event that the office became vacant or the mayor was incapacitated.
“When you became mayor Rev. (Gregory) Robertson became the mayor pro-tem, and he remained the mayor pro-tem for four years,” Thomas said to Mayor Diane Delaware. “Aldermen (Aubry) Brent and (Jack) Varner had been on this board for 20 years, and then when Alderman Robertson did not come back on the board, you appointed Alderman Johnson.”
“That’s not true,” Delaware said. “The board voted, and it is spread upon our minutes that the board voted to appoint Alderman Johnson. There was a motion made, a second, and I believe the vote was unanimous.”
Thomas said there is a new board now, and perhaps it’s time for a change.
“We need to look amongst each other and see if something were to happen who could carry the city on,” Thomas said. “I’m not saying that against Alderman Johnson, but this board is entitled to have a say.”
“The board already voted,” Delaware responded. “You seem to be saying that because you are a new alderman that we should revote. We were all here at the time the votes were cast. Are you saying that you want to change the vote?”
“Are you saying that no one else will get the experience of being the mayor pro-tem,” Thomas asked.
“No, I didn’t say that at all,” Delaware said. “I said nothing of the sort.”
Thomas said she would like to see the board vote on the matter again.
“There’s five of us, and if Johnson gets it, Johnson gets it,” she said.
Thomas made a motion to vote to appoint a mayor pro-tem. Ward 3 Alderman Sir Johnathan Rucker seconded the motion.
Rucker asked City Attorney Lilli Evans Bass for clarification on the city’s guidelines for how often a mayor pro-tem should serve before the board votes again.
When Evans Bass asked the mayor (the mayor and attorney were both participating in the meeting by telephone) if she could respond to Rucker’s question, Rucker laughed out loud.
“I heard some laughter, and I would appreciate you following the ordinances and doing what they say we’re supposed to do,” Delaware said. “There’s nothing funny about the rules of our government.”
“It’s your way or no way,” Rucker said to Delaware. “It’s Burger King style have it your way mayor. It’s only golden when Mayor Diane Delaware says it.”
“I am the presiding officer of this meeting, and I am speaking,” Delaware said. “No one is speaking to you Alderman Rucker, and you are out of order.”
“Yes I am because you are out of order almost every board meeting mayor,” Rucker replied. “It’s only golden when you say it mayor, and I’ve been calm this whole meeting. I’m still calm, but it’s only golden when Mayor Delaware says it. We can’t say anything. It’s like our words don’t even matter. Like the time when I told you that the former chief was taking money from a store, you said that was hearsay. It’s only golden when Diane Delaware says it, but I love you mayor. I do. Even though you don’t want my love, I love you.”
Evans Bass said the only reference to the mayor pro-tem in the city’s ordinances is the job description and what happens if there is a vacancy in the mayor’s office. She said state law doesn’t address Yazoo City’s situation directly because Yazoo City has a special charter, but the attorney general has given an opinion for other cities that the term is the same as the term for the mayor.
Ward 2 Alderman Andre Lloyd said he would also like to know how long the term for mayor pro tem is supposed to be.
Evans Bass will look further into the matter and report back to the board.