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Pinnacle at Jackson Place Thomas J. Bellinder, Esq.

190 E. Capitol St. Managing Partner


Suite 460 Kansas Bar No. 27424
Jackson, MS 39201 Florida Bar No. 65254
Phone: (601) 487-9340 Texas Bar No. 24098794
Facsimile: (601) 265-1795 Mississippi Bar No. 103115
Thomas.Bellinder@BellinderLawFirm.com Washington, D.C. Bar No. 996096

November 2, 2018

VIA CERTIFIED U.S. MAIL


Board of Alderman
The City of Pelahatchie, Mississippi
ATTN: City Clerk
ATTN: Legal
705 Second Street
Pelahatchie, MS 39145

VIA CERTIFIED U.S. MAIL


Margie Warren
111 Barrow St. 100
Pelahatchie, MS 39145

VIA CERTIFIED U.S. MAIL


Eddie Jones
P.O. Box 155
Pelahatchie, MS 39145

VIA CERTIFIED U.S. MAIL


Thomas R. Lyle
206 Warren Ave
Pelahatchie, MS 39145

RE: Notice of Claims

Dear Sir or Madam;

Scope of Representation

This letter will serve as official notice of claims against The City of Pelahatchie,
Mississippi, Margie Warren, Eddie Jones, Thomas R. Lyle and certain agents/employees thereof,
in their official and individual capacities pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-11, Miss. Code
Ann. § 21-3-15 any other applicable state or federal statute or constitutional provision(s), or any
applicable state or federal common law cause(s) of action. The aforementioned individuals or
entities as well as unknown employees or agents of The City of Pelahatchie, Mississippi are known
to be involved with the incidents described herein.
www.BellinderLawFirm.com
The Time and Place the Injury Occurred

Our Firm has been retained by Mayor Ryshonda Beechem, for claims that have accrued
individually and in her capacity as the Mayor of the City of Pelahatchie, Mississippi. This
representation arises from incidents which took place in Pelahatchie, Rankin County, Mississippi.
The incidents occurred in succession, beginning on or around February of 2018.

Residence of the Person Making the Claim at the Time of the Injury

At the time of this injury, Mayor Ryshonda Beechem had a fixed place of residence in
Rankin County, MS, having resided at 105 Rhodes Avenue, Pelahatchie, MS 39145.

Residence of the Claimant at the time of the Filing of this Notice

At the time of the filing of this notice, Mayor Ryshonda Beechem resides at 105 Rhodes
Aveune, Pelahatchie, MS 39145.

The Circumstances Which Brought About the Injury


The Extent of the Injury
The Names of All Persons Known to Be Involved

Miss. Code Ann. § 21-3-15 states as follows:

Duties of the mayor; authority of the board of aldermen

(1) The mayor shall preside at all meetings of the board of aldermen, and in case
there shall be an equal division, shall give the deciding vote. The executive power
of the municipality shall be exercised by the mayor, and the mayor shall have the
superintending control of all the officers and affairs of the municipality, and shall
take care that the laws and ordinances are executed.
(2) (a) The legislative power of the municipality shall be exercised by the board of
aldermen by a vote within a legally called meeting. No member of the board of
aldermen shall give orders to any employee or subordinate of a municipality
other than the alderman's personal staff.
(b) Ordinances adopted by the board of aldermen shall be submitted to the mayor.
The mayor shall, within ten (10) days after receiving any ordinance, either approve
the ordinance by affixing his signature thereto, or return it to the board of aldermen
by delivering it to the municipal clerk together with a written statement setting forth
his objections thereto or to any item or part thereof. No ordinance or any item or
part thereof shall take effect without the mayor's approval, unless the mayor fails
to return an ordinance to the board of aldermen prior to the next meeting of the
board, but no later than fifteen (15) days after it has been presented to him, or unless
the board of aldermen, upon reconsideration thereof on or after the third day
following its return by the mayor, shall, by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members
of the board, resolve to override the mayor's veto.
(3) The term "ordinance" as used in this section shall be deemed to include
ordinances, resolutions and orders.

(emphasis added)

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On numerous occasions during her tenure, Mayor Ryshonda Beechem has learned of
instances wherein members of the City of Pelahatchie’s Board of Alderman have engaged in
private meetings with city employees outside of public meetings for the purpose of handling
public business. These meetings take place without notice to the Mayor. During these meetings,
Alderman give direction to city employees regarding their duties and without the approval of the
full board. These actions have included, but are not limited to, notice of the resignation of the
chief of police and the coordination of the hiring of a zoning administrator. This constant and
consistent disregard for the law causes a serious threat to the lawfulness of the City and the safety
of its citizens. Miss. Code Ann. § 21-15-9 states “The mayor shall be active and vigilant in
enforcing all laws and ordinances for the government of the municipality, and he shall cause all
other officers to be dealt with promptly for any neglect or violation of duty.” Mayor Ryshonda
Beechem recognizes the mandate placed upon her by Mississippi law by virtue of her elected
office and seeks injunctive relief in an effort to stop the blatant disregard for Miss. Code Ann. §
21-3-15 by the Board of Alderman.

Miss. Code Ann. § 21-3-13 states “The board of aldermen shall elect from among its
members a mayor pro tempore, who shall serve in the place of the mayor in cases of temporary
absence or disability of the mayor.” The Attorney General has opined that “A mayor’s mere
physical absence from the jurisdiction does not trigger the powers of the mayor pro tempore. A
mayor must be absent from a jurisdiction in such a manner so as to prevent the mayor from
performing the duties of the office.” 2006 Miss. Op. Att'y Gen. 12. The duly elected Mayor Pro
Tempore of the City of Pelahatchie, Margie Warren, has constantly and consistently stepped
beyond her authority in that role, and sought to serve as mayor in instances where Mayor
Ryshonda Beechem was either temporarily physically absent, or instances where the Mayor was
actually present. Ms. Warren has communicated directly with city employees regarding their
daily duties on numerous occasions and has sought to sign checks and take other unauthorized
official actions during times where the Mayor was not absent from the jurisdiction in such a
manner to prevent her from performing the duties of the office. Mayor Ryshonda Beechem seeks
injunctive relief in an effort to prohibit the continued disregard for the law.

Miss. Code Ann. § 21-15-11 states “The mayor shall have power, when he deems it
proper, to require any officer of the municipality to exhibit his accounts or other papers, and to
make report to the governing body, in writing, touching any subject or matter he may require
pertaining to his office.” Mayor Ryshonda Beechem has requested on numerous occasions that
the current city clerk Thomas R. Lyle provide her with a copy of the town budget, a full monthly
accounting of the assets and liabilities of the town, prepared agendas and packets for board
meetings in sufficient time so that the material can be reviewed and a copy of a timesheet
accounting for work time, each of which has been refused or ignored. These actions constitute
insubordination and a serious breach of proper discipline. If allowed to continue, these actions
may result in a loss or injury to the public; Mayor Ryshonda Beechem seeks injunctive relief to
prevent such loss or injury.

The Attorney General has consistently opined that “it is within the discretion of the
governing body to establish the mayor's salary and the board should set such salary in
consideration of the duties and responsibilities of the mayor. MS AG Op., Beckett (January 31,
2003). The Attorney General has continued, “Moreover, when setting salaries, the governing
authority should act in good faith and in a manner that is not considered arbitrary and
unreasonable when considering the municipal resources and the duties of the office.” MS AG
Op., Greer (January 12, 1994); MS AG Op., McWilliams (November 10, 1982). Therefore, it
remains the opinion of this office that the governing authority has the authority to reduce the
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mayor's salary when the governing authority is acting in good faith and the reduction will not be
considered arbitrary or unreasonable in relation to the municipal resources and the duties of the
office. Id. The Board of Alderman for the City of Pelahatchie voted to reduce the Mayor’s salary
to two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) per month, without consideration for the duties and
responsibilities commensurate with the position. (emphasis added) The Board of Alderman did
so arbitrarily and unreasonably, and in an effort to undermine and punish the Mayor for taking
stances which challenge the status quo and for seeking to hold the Board of Alderman
accountable to the laws of the State of Mississippi. Mayor Ryshonda Beechem seeks injunctive
relief and an equitable award of back pay for the time and efforts fulfilling her duties and role as
Mayor.

Types of Claims Likely to Be Made


Amount of Money Damages Sought

Mayor Ryshonda Beechem intends to file a civil action in this matter pursuant to Miss.
Code Ann. § 11-46-11 and any other applicable state or federal statute or constitutional provision.
In addition, Claimant asserts the following claims: (i) injunctive relief, (ii) equitable back pay, (iii)
breach of a non-delegable fiduciary duty, (iv) damages, and (v) others.

Claimant has suffered harm as a direct and proximate cause of the actions and inactions of
The City of Pelahatchie, Mississippi, Margie Warren, Eddie Jones, Thomas R. Lyle and potentially
others. Petitioner seeks a temporary restraining order wherein the Respondents shall be ordered to
immediately cease and desist from the conduct detailed herein and as more fully set forth at
hearing, and for all other relief to which entitled by Mississippi and Federal law.

Please refer all correspondence or communication to my office relating to this claim.


Should you need additional information to properly evaluate or investigate this claim, please
contact our office.

Respectfully,

BELLINDER LAW FIRM

_____________________________________
Thomas J. Bellinder, Esq.

TJB/