Turner talks city government with WPHS seniors

 In honor of Mississippi Municipal Government Week, Ward 1 Selectwoman Leta Turner visited Michael Watkins'  Government/Economics class at West Point High School to talk about local city government.
By: 
DONNA SUMMERALL
Staff Writer

As part of Mississippi Municipal Government Week, Ward 1 Selectwoman Leta Turner visited Michael Watkins' Government class at West Point High School to talk about local city government. Turner spoke to three of Watkins' classes on Jan. 23.

"Other places call us councilmen or aldermen," Turner said. "But here we are the Board of Selectmen. We are the Municipal Government, they run a city, village or town. We meet on the second Tuesday of each month at City Hall."

She said the mayor is voted at large, that means all the wards vote for a mayor, but can only vote for the selectmen that are running to represent that specific ward.

"Our type of government is, weak mayor, strong board," Turner said. "The mayor does not vote unless the board is deadlocked in a tie. But in case of a tie, the mayoral vote breaks the tie. Or the mayor can cast a veto vote."

The mayor is also the one to introduce the citizens on the Board of Selectmen's agenda during the monthly meetings, Turner said.

"Everyone on the board serves a four-year term," Turner said. "We offer services such as utilities, public works, parks and recreation department, the West Point Police Department and the West Point Fire Department."

Turner recognized the class of high school seniors to be between the ages of 17 and 18. They are or soon will be, eligible to register to vote.

"The mayor is the executive branch of city government," Turner said. "The executive branch carries out the laws. He has the power to veto any ordinance that comes before him. The legislative branch is the board of selectmen and the judicial branch is the municipal court."

All three of the classes were in agreement that West Point could use an indoor gymnasium, more restaurants, jobs and street and road repair.

"I graduated in 1994 from West Point High School." Turner said. "Graduated from Mississippi State University in 1998 as a paralegal. I've worked for a law firm as a paralegal, moved away from this area. came back home and saw some things in the community that I wanted to be involved in. And a little over a year ago I was voted to the Board of Selectmen to represent Ward 1."

Turner represents Ward 1; William Binder - Ward 2; Ken Poole - Ward 3; Keith McBrayer - Ward 4 and Jasper Pittman - Ward 5. Turner is the only women on the Board of Selectmen.

"If you would like to serve on the Board of Selectmen," Turner said. "You must be a registered voter in the district you wish to represent, you have to live in that ward. and be at least 18 years of age. "

Turner explained to the students the importance of voting and having a voice not only in the election of national and state candidates, but being a part of the election process at the local level, as well.

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