Council Overturns Mayor’s Veto of Transfer of $1.6 Million of Siemens Fund

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The Jackson City Council recently overturned Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba's veto of its resolution to take $1.6 million from the $89.8 million Siemens settlement with the City and separating it to invest in the development of Highway 18 corridor.

The council had, on May 12, at the prompting of Ward 4 Councilman De'Keither Stamps voted for the resolution, against the protestation of the executive branch. Lumumba later vetoed the resolution, saying it was ill-timed, ill-advised and a fiscally irresponsible move.

However, the council summoned the two-third votes required to neutralize the veto, voting 4-2 vote on June 9 to reverse Lumumba’s decision . Council President Virgi Lindsay of Ward 7 and Ward 5 Councilman Charles H. Tillman voted against the reversal of the veto with Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth I. Stokes absent.

The discussion sometimes became heated with Lindsay regularly interjecting to maintain decorum, lasting over thirty minutes. The mayor painted a gloomy picture of what will happen if the council succeeded in overturning his veto. It, however, held its ground despite appeals to the contrary.

The initial resolution passed May 12 on a 4-to-3 vote, with Ward 2 Councilman Melvin V. Priester Jr.,Tillman and Lindsay voting against it. But in a twist, at the June 9 meeting, Priester's vote was the decider in overturning the veto. He switched from being against the resolution to being for it.

While announcing his decision, Priester said the information available convinced him that moving $1.6 million from Siemens funds to a separate account to attend to the Highway 18 corridor would not jeopardize the City's finances.

"I voted against this item when originally brought to the floor," he said before casting the swing vote. "But at the moment, a path is made where we can pull both goals off, of investing in this particular area

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