According to candidate Jeffrey Kilpatrick, current Mayor Harvey Burchfield has been deliberately trying to use strategies to influence the outcome of the election.
During a regularly scheduled Drew Board of Aldermen meeting on April 1, Kilpatrick presented a request to host an event on April 5.
The event was set to take place on Main Street in Drew from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Burchfield also announced that he would be distributing fruit and vegetables to the community on the same day during the same time span.
The Drew Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to approve the request of Kilpatrick and Burchfield.
However on April 4, Kilpatrick said he received a letter from Burchfield, which said that his request had been vetoed.
"After I received the letter, I called Mr. Burchfield immediately to asked why he had vetoed my request," said Kilpatrick.
"Anytime you veto someone's request, you are supposed to give a reason why. When I asked him on Friday what was his reason was his exact words were, "You can't read?"" continued Kilpatrick.
"I then responded by saying, "Apparently you can't read because you did not state why you vetoed my request,"" he added.
As a result of Burchfield's veto, according to Kilpatrick, Alderman At-Large Hazel Harris called a special meeting to overrule the veto.
"A special meeting was called but Mayor Burchfield did not attend," said Kilpatrick.
"Alderman At-Large Hazel Harris called a special meeting on Tuesday (April 8) at 5 p.m. I was told that the mayor was contacted many times about the meeting but he did not answer the phone," he added.
The Bolivar Commercial did confirm with the Drew city clerk that a special meeting of the board had been called.
Kilpatrick said the aldermen were upset because they had not been notified about the veto.
"He really did not give a reason as to why he vetoed my request. The alderman were upset about the veto because they made the motion to approve my request April 1 but by Friday it was vetoed," said Kilpatrick.
"If there was a conflict with my request, it should have been vetoed April 1 and not Friday," he added.
The Bolivar Commercial contacted Burchfield about the matter and he responded by saying, "I vetoed his request because it was not a valid request. My reason for the veto was outlined in the letter that I sent Kilpatrick on Friday."
The letter is as follows:
“On Tuesday, April 1, 2014 Jeffery Kilpatrick came before the Board with a request for the City of Drew Board to allow him to block Main Street from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm April 12, 2014. On motion of Alderwoman Phillips, seconded by Alderwoman Harris and unanimously approved the request. I am vetoing this decision based on the fact that it was not a valid request.”
"I just simply did not understand why my request was vetoed. I followed the procedure for getting on the agenda. I was approved to be on the agenda April 1 by Burchfield and I stood before the board and asked them for their permission to have the event," said Kilpatrick.
Burchfield said he stands firm in his decision and he did not wish to render any further comments.
According to the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office, the board of aldermen must act to override a mayor´s veto no later than the next lawfully convened regular or special meeting of the governing authority.
The board must wait at least three days after delivery of the mayor´s veto message to override.
Kilpatrick said he was notified on Tuesday morning about the special meeting and he received the veto letter from Burchfield on Friday.
"During the special meeting, members of the board approved my request to host another event on Saturday at 10 a.m.," he added.
"I want people to come out to the National Guard Amory on Saturday to enjoy some great food, fun and entertainment," said Kilpatrick.
Drew mayoral elections will be held April 15 at the U.S. National Guard Amory in Drew from 7 a.m.- 7 p.m.
The qualifying candidates are Harvey Burchfield, Jeffrey Kilpatrick and John Thigpen.