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Budget panel chair position stays vacant

May 18, 2012

By NATHAN GREGORY
sdnreporter@yahoo.com

The appointment of a new chairperson for the Starkville Board of Aldermen’s Budget and Audit Committee was a matter placed on Tuesday’s consent agenda but later removed after Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins, who was the proposed appointee, abruptly withdrew his consideration.
Ward 2 Alderman and former budget committee chairperson Sandra Sistrunk stepped down from the position last month, citing family reasons. The other two members of the committee are Perkins and Ward 3 Alderman Eric Parker.

Perkins asked to be withdrawn after the placement of the item on the consent agenda was questioned. Sistrunk said she did not put the item on consent but agreed to leave it there if it was the board’s will. Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver asked for clarification as to who made the recommendation.

Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill said Perkins and Sistrunk had previous discussions as to who should fill the role and he offered his services. She said there was an error in communication as to whether or not there was agreement that he be the appointee.

“In my role of putting the agenda together, I did not double-check that the conversation and communication between myself and Alderman Perkins and myself and Alderman Sistrunk was properly researched, and I was mistaken in placing it on the consent agenda,” Spruill said. “It should have been left open for discussion.”

Perkins said he asked to be removed from consideration because he didn’t feel everyone on the board was in favor of him serving in that role.
“For some reason, it was met with some strong opposition from at least one or more of the board members. Here you have an alderman with 19 years of service on the board. I serve as a member of the current budget committee, so you wonder why anyone would have any objection,” Perkins said. “I respectfully withdrew from consideration because I’m not going to serve as chairperson of a budget committee where I do not have unanimous support. I knew that I have provided proven conservative leadership, and I would have been a very watchful eye over the taxpayers’ funds.”

Perkins said there was a need to have a chairperson on the committee because of its importance and there needs to be someone named to lead it soon.

Sistrunk said she did not expect Perkins to withdraw as a potential candidate and was not opposed to him serving in that position.
“I was surprised that Mr. Perkins took himself out of consideration for the Budget and Audit Committee chairmanship. My intention was not to take the item off consent but to clarify that I did not place the item on consent,” Sistrunk said. “I’m not as skilled politically as some of the people sitting at that table and I may have handled my comments poorly. Transparency is more important to me than being skilled politically.”

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