Mayor submits new candidates for police chief, attorney

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) – Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree has placed 11 appointments before the city council.

The appointments include department heads or municipal court positions.

The council meets Monday.

The Hattiesburg American reports ( ) that seven of the candidates are re-nominated holdovers. Four others – including police chief, city attorney, public defender and one judge – are new.

DuPree said he would have preferred to bring back all his department heads, but was concerned about their ability to be confirmed by a majority of the council.

“The staff I have now, I’m fully satisfied with,” DuPree said. “I believe they’ve done a great job for a long time, and they served the citizens of Hattiesburg well.

“But through direct conversations with at least one council person and innuendos from others, it seems the four were going to have difficulty getting passed.”

DuPree nominated former Vicksburg Police Chief Mitchell Dent to replace Frazier Bolton as police chief; Charles “C.J.” Lawrence III to replace his father, Charles Lawrence Jr., as city attorney; and Catouche J.L. Body to replace Alethea Shaw as public defender.

DuPree also nominated Crystal Wise Martin, the widow of the late, prominent Jackson attorney Precious Martin, to replace Carol Jones as Municipal Court judge pro-tem.

City Council President Kim Bradley said he only had just seen the list of appointments

“(The four), they’re all new to me,” Bradley said. “I guess we’ll need to find out who they are. We’ll just need to see.”

Since being re-elected to a fourth term in September 2013, DuPree had submitted candidates for six of the 17 positions, which by state law, require his nomination and council’s approval.

Of the six, five have been approved.

Bradley and Councilman Carter Carroll sued in Forrest County Circuit Court in November, asking that the mayor be required to bring the remaining nominees forward.

DuPree said his submission of the appointments had nothing to do with the complaint.