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Vicksburg mayor plans private meeting with firefighters, without chief or aldermen present


VICKSBURG, Mississippi — Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. is inviting the city's firefighters to a meeting that will be closed to their chief, the aldermen and the media.

Flaggs sent a letter to firefighters, saying he will be available for two hours Saturday at the City Hall annex to discuss issues in the Fire Department, The Vicksburg Post reported (http://bit.ly/1RvKQMi ).

Among other things, the department has experienced problems with short-staffing and a big overtime budget.

Flaggs says there has been "a disconnect in the communication" between firefighters and himself.

"I'm going to give them two hours, whether one person comes or two people come or all of them come," Flaggs said. "I just want to talk to them directly so they hear from me."

Chief Charles Atkins said he's disappointed the mayor would exclude him and others from the meeting.

"I asked (Flaggs) not to talk to them because anything he could tell them, I thought he could tell me and I could tell them, or whatever the case may be," Atkins said. "But, evidently, he doesn't trust me with that situation."

Flaggs said he should be able to meet with any of the city's employees and citizens.

Information from: The Vicksburg Post, http://www.vicksburgpost.com

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