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Harold Lathon, who was appointed to the North Central Mississippi Railroad Authority Board in January, was removed from the position temporarily Tuesday night by the West Point Board of Mayor and Selectmen.
The decision to remove Lathon temporarily from serving on the Railroad Authority Board came after the Clay County Election Commission voted last Tuesday to purge Lathon's name from the voter roll of Clay County, finding no proof that Lathon is a resident of Clay County. Mayor Scott Ross said in light of the action of the Election Commission, it was important for the city board to reconsider their appointment of Lathon to the Railroad Authority Board since it is preferred that whoever represents West Point on the Railroad Authority Board live in West Point.
Ward 5 Selectmen Jasper Pittman made the motion to remove Lathon temporarily until a decision is made on Lathon's formal complaint and request for investigation filed with the United States Department of Justice on the action the Election Commission took. Lathon filed the complaint Monday, which states he was given no notification of being purged and stated the Election Commission and other parties conspired to violate his civil rights and his right to vote in his own hometown.
The Election Commission voted to purge Lathon from the voter roll based on information given to them by the Clay County Democratic Party Executive Committee, who could not prove Lathon's Clay County residency to qualify him to run for chancery clerk. Lathon presented to the DPEC a West Point homestead, utility bills, his driver's license, his car tag and his Limited Liability Company Annual Report, all of which bears his address as being 209 N. Eshman Ave. in West Point.
Until the Department of Justice responds to Lathon's complaint, West Point resident Jimmy Davidson will fill the seat on the Railroad Authority Board in representation of West Point. If no action is taken by the Department of Justice, the city board will decide in a future meeting to keep Davidson on the Railroad Authority Board permanently or appoint someone else.
City attorney Orlando Richmond said Lathon's letter of complaint to the Department of Justice would not be considered an appeal, but an appeal would have to be made, in this case, through a local court system, such as Circuit Court. Refuting a decision made by the an Election Commission is an action made in court, not through a letter of complaint, Richmond said. There is no consequence on the board's decision to keep Lathon or remove him temporarily since no one is entitled to sit on the Railroad Authority Board, Richmond said.