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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Peace Train derails

City Council asks for Mayor's resignation

City Council protest imageThe last City Council meeting I attended went so this. The majority of the council announced at a news conference, prior to the scheduled council meeting, that they are seeking Mayor Farris' resignation.

Carolyn Ponting was the only Councilperson present at tonight's meeting. Since there was no quorum, the meeting was cancelled.

Mayor Farris said that the city will no longer be obligated to pay the $600.00 per month salary for each of the four council members who declared they will not be attending scheduled meetings. Those members will also lose their health insurance coverage and other benefits.

The council members seeking his resignation include Bobby Whitaker, Elbert Purchase, Linda Jackson and Sandra Tarver.

The complete text of the press release issued by the members above follows:

Cairo City Council Members Press Release of Tuesday, December 27, 2005

We, as members of the Cairo City Council, wish to make the following statement:

The Cairo City council members cannot effectively fulfill their respected elected positions with the continuing lack of cooperation from Mayor Paul Farris. Our constituents, who elected us to serve, realize the ongoing responsibility that this city is obligated to provide. However, Mayor Farris continues to spawn chaos and turmoil, lie to employees and the public, threaten employees with termination if they speak to council members or allow them on the premises of the police department, he prohibits the Cairo Police Commissioner and the Alexander County 911 Coordinator from entering the Cairo Police Department, he hires, fires and spends unauthorized non-approved funds, misappropriates tax money, provides raises without council approval and enters into lawsuits without council approval.

The 1980 Federal Consent Decree that allowed minority representation to the Cairo City Council has been ignored by Mayor Paul Farris. This struggle to restore African American representation with a voice by our elected leaders has been taken away from us regarding any decision making for the City of Cairo. Mayor Farris unlawfully blocks any implementation of the decisions made by the Council thereby taking away our Civil Rights that we struggled for so greatly. He dictates the agenda and the rules not allowing us any say so in the City's governmental process.

Since May 1, 2003, Mayor Farris has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars without the approval of the City Council, thus creating the City's current financial crisis. There have been no audits completed since his term began. Mayor Farris is solely responsible for this financial nightmare which we may never get out from under. And now, under his leadership, we face further chaos with the recent events that have occurred in our city regarding police protection and the safety or our citizens.

This must stop. As of today December 27, 2005, the majority of the Cairo City Council will stop attending regularly scheduled council meetings until such time as the United States Justice Department, the Illinois Attorney General's Office, the American Civil Liberties Union and the State of Illinois takes some sort of action to stop this dictatorship reign of Mayor Paul Farris. We are therefore asking State agencies to intervene and protect the rights of the Cairo Citizens and the elected representatives. We are also calling for an immediate audit of all funds since Mayor Farris has taken office May 1, 2003 by the State of Illinois.

We call for immediate voluntary resignation of Mayor Paul Farris in light of the decisions that he has recently made, his lack of leadership, his blatant violation of the 1980 Federal Consent Decree, his abuse of power and his dereliction of duties to date including plunging the city into financial chaos.

This statement made by Cairo City Council Members:

Bobby Whitaker (Home Phone: 618-734-2949, Cell No, 618-977-5364)
Elbert Purchase
Linda Jackson
Sandra Tarver

© 2005 The Cairo Gate