Stimpson Steps In, Ends Jones Impasse

Stimpson Steps In, Ends Jones Impasse

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The fight to put former Mayor Sam Jones on the Mobile water Board is apparently over.

Today Mayor Sandy Stimpson broke the impasse AT Government Plaza and asked the city council to approve Jones’ nomination.

“It comes a point in time when I, as the mayor, cannot sit on the sideline and hope this thing goes away,” said Stimpson. “The rift in our city council if not corrected could spread and undermine all our efforts to build a better Mobile. We cannot afford to let that happen.”

Stimpson called for the city council to appoint former Mayor Sam Jones to the MAWSS Board.

Fred Richardson nominated Jones --  twice -- in the last three weeks. Both votes were quashed along strict racial lines.  A News-5 poll showed that rift reflected a divide in the city with 86-percent of blacks favoring the Jones appointment and 83-percent of whites opposing it.

“I do not believe that the issue to begin with was racial, but it evolved into what the perception is,” said Stimpson.  “Sometime perception is reality but I do not believe that’s what started the problem.”

By this afternoon both council members Joel Daves and Gina Gregory said they would follow the mayor’s advice. That would give Jones’ nomination the five votes it needs to pass.

“The city council is a team and the mayor is our captain,” said City Council President Gina Gregory. “I will follow the mayor’s lead.”

Bess Rich tells News-5 that Stimpson’s request has not changed her mind about the Jones appointment.

John Williams says he’ll study the issue over the weekend. Jones’ nomination could be brought up again as early as next Tuesday, although at this point it is not on the agenda.

Mayor Stimpson is also calling to have a town hall summit on race relations and racial sensitivities. He says  the meeting will take place June 11.

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