OF JUDGMENT: 06/05/2018
MADISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. STEVE S. RATCLIFF, III
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JOHN W. CHRISTOPHER.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: PIETER TEEUWISSEN KIMBERLY BANKS.
COURT ATTORNEYS: JOHN W. CHRISTOPHER KIMBERLY BANKS PIETER
KING, P.J., MAXWELL AND GRIFFIS, JJ.
Walter Jones appeals the order of the Circuit Court of
Madison County affirming his removal as trustee of the Canton
Public School District (CPSD) by the Board of Aldermen (the
Board) of the City of Canton (the City). Jones argues that
the Board lacked the authority to remove him as a public
official. Finding that the Board's actions were
prohibited by the Mississippi Constitution, we agree.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Jones served as a trustee of the CPSD, appointed by the Board
under Mississippi Code Section 37-7-203 (Supp.
2017). His last appointment to a five-year term
occurred in February 2016.
On February 20, 2018, William Truly, mayor of the City of
Canton, and the Board met at Canton City Hall for a duly
called meeting of the governing authorities. Truly determined
the Board had a quorum, with only one alderman not in
attendance. During the meeting, the Board discussed concerns
involving CPSD. The meeting's minutes reflect the
There came on for consideration before the Board the matter
of a school board member appointment. Alderwoman Daphne Sims
expressed concern that the City was supposed to be kept
abreast by the School Board members of school issues, and no
one has been before the City Board to keep them abreast of
the issues of the District. The Mayor addressed whether it
was legal for an employee of the School District who sits on
the Board of Aldermen to vote on the issues of the School
District. When requested, Attorney Banks advised the Board on
the statutory conditions to remove a Board member, per the
Attorney General Opinions on the matter. Alderwoman Sims made
the motion to remove Walter Jones, whose term will expire in
2021, for cause for being unwilling to serve and unwilling to
keep the City abreast of what is going on in the school
system, and replace him with Timothy Scott. Alderman Penn
seconded the motion.
A majority of the aldermen voted in favor of the motion to
remove Jones, and the mayor declared that the motion was
carried by majority vote.
While the minutes reflect no authority for removal, Section
2-55 of the City's Code of Ordinances states that the
Board shall remove "[e]very officer or employee who
shall refuse or willfully neglect to perform the duties
imposed upon him by ...