Aldermen set special call meeting for Starkville Pride lawsuit

Staff Writer

The Starkville Board of Aldermen will have a special call meeting to discuss a potential settlement between the city and the grassroots organization Starkville Pride on Friday at 9 a.m. at City Hall.

The lawsuit was filed after the aldermen denied the organization's special event request to have the city’s first LGBT pride parade in Starkville.

Mayor Lynn Spruill said during the special call meeting, the board will look to advertise a vacant position in the city, and to present the settlement agreement proposal.

"If the board is in favor of the settlement proposal, we can go ahead and agree to it so that we are not incurring further legal costs," Spruill said.

She said the legal costs come from filing briefs, and due to the timing of the next board meeting, she felt it was necessary to call for the meeting.

Spruill said the agreement took about six hours between the two parties. Spruill, City Attorney Chris Latimer and Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk filed the settlement.

"We think we've reached a point where we've gone as far as we can go, and they've gone as far as they can go," Spruill said.

If the board does not approve of the settlement, Spruill said there will be continued legal fees associated with moving forward. She said the payment amount the city reached was a “reasonable amount,” but would not disclose specific amount.

Spruill said during the meeting, the board could choose to accept, reject or look at a different settlement amount. Aldermen initially approved the motion to deny the request with a 4-3 vote. Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver, Ward 3 Alderman David Little, Vice Mayor and Ward 6 Alderman Roy A’. Perkins and Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn voted in favor of denying the request.

The motion to deny the request was made by Perkins. Starkville Pride applied for a special event request to host the 2018 Pride Parade and have city participation with in-kind services.

The board would later approve the special event request with a 4-3 vote with Mayor Lynn Spruill as the tie breaking vote and Ward 3 Alderman David Little opting to abstain.