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Two citizens denied board appearances

Two citizens on Tuesday’s aldermen meeting agenda to discusscrime-related concerns were denied the chance to appear before theboard.

Roy Smith, of 452 Rodgers St., wanted to address the boardregarding an alternative method for fighting crime and DarleneGraham, of 206 Grenn St., hoped to discuss the handling of a recentcriminal case. Graham’s nephew, Domanic Richardson, was shot inCloverdale and Robert Wilcher, 21, of 900 Williams St, Apt. 50, hasbeen charged with murder in the incident.

However, Mayor Les Bumgarner said Smith and Graham’s appearanceswere canceled after they were contacted by the city attorney. Themayor said Graham’s concerns involved a government “separation ofpowers” issue and Smith has a lawsuit pending against thecity.

“I felt like we didn’t need to hear him until the lawsuit issettled,” Bumgarner said.

Following the meeting, Smith, who said he is a firefighter, saidhis lawsuit involves hiring practices in the city fire department.His focus Tuesday was on crime.

“I wanted the aldermen to hear the ideas our community has in thefight against crime,” Smith said.

Smith said crime is escalating and he was interested in crimeprevention.

His idea was to construct an activities center to provideopportunities that may steer young people away from crime. Smithsuggested city funds would be better spent in that avenue than onhiring new police officers and buying cars.

“If kids had something to do, we might not need additional policecars,” Smith said.

Graham had concerns about low bond amounts set in criminal cases inthe city.

Graham was particularly concerned about a $50,000 bond set in thecase against Wilcher. In that case, Wilcher could be released afterpaying $5,000.

However, Wilcher remains in jail in Copiah County, said LincolnCounty Sheriff Steve Rushing. Rushing said Wilcher was moved to theCopiah facility for security reasons.

Regarding the powers separation issue, City Attorney Joe Fernaldsaid aldermen are considered legislative and the mayor executive.Bond amounts are discretionary within the court system, part of thejudicial branch of government, he said.