BREAKING NEWS: Neelly plans to veto council's Major Thoroughfare decision

BY ANDY KANENGISER
Daily Journal

TUPELO – Mayor Ed Neelly said today he will veto City Council action to name Cook Coggin Engineers to handle the fourth phase of the city's huge roadbuilding program.

“For the City Council to say we know better is a tremendous disservice to the people who serve” on the Major Thoroughfare Committee, the mayor told the Daily Journal in a phone interview.

By a 5-4 vote following contentious debate, the council rejected a unanimous recommendation from the panel of volunteer citizens on the Thoroughfare Committee and awarded the contract Tuesday to Cook Coggin.

Neelly said he expects to issue the veto next week. It would be the first of his administration that began in July 2005. It would take six council votes to override the mayor. He said he believes his action will be upheld by the council to trigger new discussions about awarding the contract.

The Thoroughfare Committee in August recommended awarding the contract to Engineering Solutions Inc. “I'm satisfied the process was fair,” Neelly said. “This was my decision (a veto) alone. To me it is a matter of principle.”

He also encouraged members of the Thoroughfare Committee not to resign as some have contemplated.