- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2015

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree faces fines of $150 a day, starting July 10, if he fails to appoint a police chief and get the chief confirmed by then.

Special Judge Breland Hilburn on Thursday found DuPree guilty of civil contempt of court for failing to bring administrative nominees forward in a timely fashion for City Council confirmation, the Hattiesburg American reported (http://hatne.ws/1FyGbRH ).

Robert Gholson is an attorney for two city council members who sued the mayor over the slow process of getting people nominated and confirmed. Gholson said in court Thursday that DuPree knew in early 2014 that Police Chief Frazier Bolton would not be approved, and the mayor delayed doing anything until councilmen sued him.

DuPree - who is about two years into his fourth term - testified that he has acted in a reasonable manner. He also said there will always be differences between a mayor and city council members, but he does not take the council members to court.

DuPree said he has interviewed nine candidates for police chief, so far. He said he considered promoting two people within Hattiesburg Police Department, but both declined the job. The council has blocked three people DuPree has nominated for chief, he said.

DuPree won a fourth term in a tightly-contested general election in June 2013. Challenger Dave Ware sued over alleged voting improprieties, and DuPree won again in a court-ordered special election in September 2013.

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Information from: The Hattiesburg American, http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com

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