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Columbus City Council: The Game Has Changed! — One Man, Marty Turner, Has Changed This Council

The Beat Goes On
Staff Writer

ron williams logo 2Column — The Beat Goes On
Staff Writer
You’d think that because only one city council position has a new face to it (Ward 4’s Marty Turner), things would pretty much remain the same in the political power play that exist inside the confines of the Columbus City Council.
Not so fast, my friends!

Former Councilman Fred Stewart, whom Turner defeated, was a Robert Smith-man, so to speak. The Mayor could usually count on Stewart and Ward 1’s Gene Taylor to get things done and be a roadblock vote against Ward 2 Councilman Joseph Mickens and Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem. Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box and Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin rarely joined forces, if ever, with Mickens and Karriem, so Smith could usually count on their votes as well.
But that was the old game – the old days. It’s a whole new ball game with the young and feisty Turner. His political maneuvering has already helped cause a different style of council meetings and the promise of future meetings. Turner is somewhat aligned with Mickens and Karriem. But in the past few weeks, the constantly wavering Mickens has seemed to irritate Karriem, even to the point where Karriem joined Gavin and Box (which in turn collected Taylor and Turner) in voting to rescind the $4,000 annual pay raise that the previous council voted themselves (minus Stewart who wasn’t there to vote). Mickens was the lone vote, Tuesday night, to not vote to rescind, mainly because he’s the one who pushed so hard to make it happen at that last meeting. He needed that money, y’all!
Now you see it, now you don’t!
Mickens isn’t a happy camper. But he’ll get over it quick, I’m sure.

In fact, Mickens got a little satisfaction earlier when, in deciding who to re-appoint as City Engineer, Turner made a substitute motion to Gavin’s original motion to re-appoint the Neel-Schaffer Engineering firm, which includes current engineer Kevin Stafford. Mickens had bumped heads with Stafford during the previous meeting and was obviously after his position. Turner’s substitute motion, seconded by Mickens, was to make a request for proposals from engineering firms (this was an obvious “in your face” to Stafford, who has been one of the finest engineer’s this town has ever seen. RW). The vote for requesting proposals was 4-2, with Box and Gavin opposed.
In another change, the council (with the same 4-2 vote), voted to change the prosecuting attorney for the city. Scott Colom replaced former prosecutor Shane Tompkins.
The best way I can describe last night’s meeting (if I had to use just one word) was orchestrated (to a fine tune!)

Robbers Steal Flowers From Graves at Friendship Cemetery
Frank Goodman told me that robbers have been thieving expensive flower arrangements from graves at Friendship Cemetery. Speculation is that the thieves are stealing the flowers for re-sell. He wants me to make a reminder that thieves will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law if caught. And law enforcement has beefed up patrols of the cemetery.
To steal from a grave site is much like stealing from a church. How low can one get?

Bill Luckett Takes Office In Clarksdale
I spoke with newly elected Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett Tuesday morning. The amazing thing about Luckett is that he was elected mayor in an 80% black city and garnered 70% of the vote in doing so. That’s quite a feat in a Mississippi Delta town!

I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July! Let’s never forget the sacrifices made by our military personnel in keeping us safe from harm and keeping us free. God Bless them all!

The views and opinions expressed in Ron Williams’ columns are the author’s and are not necessarily those of The Columbus Packet or Packet Media, LLC.
Ron Williams can be reached by email at Ronsings2you


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