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Stokes: ‘Hell no’ to hiring of convicted felon as Jackson interim parks director

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba continues to face harsh criticism for his decision to hire a convicted felon to serve as the city’s interim parks and recreation director.

The most recent critic – who’s never been shy on his views when it comes to Lumumba – is Ward 3 City Councilman Kenneth Stokes.

In a video posted by WAPT’s Ross Adams, Stokes delivered lyrics from a Bishop Bullwinkle song as his response to Lumumba’s appointment of Steve Hutton, who was convicted of promoting prostitution in 2021.

“Hell to the naw naw. Hell to the naw. Hell to the naw naw. Hell to the naw naw naw. Hell no,” Stokes said, smiling at the camera.

Hutton, who served as director of the Mississippi Fair Commission prior to his arrest, was appointed by Lumumba on Monday.

The Democratic mayor touted Hutton’s professional achievements, including his work to double the revenue at the Pete Brown Golf Course, while saying that Hutton deserves a second chance at being a local official.

“I believe it’s important that when someone pays their debt, that we give them an opportunity,” Lumumba said in a press conference. “The city of Jackson, some time ago, decided that we would ban the box, and what ban the box meant is that on applications, we would not ask if people had prior criminal convictions unless it was relevant to the job they served in.”

“If we believe that we can ban the box for people who work in lower levels of our employment, then certainly it would be hypocritical of us to say that we cannot allow people to work in the areas of their expertise if it were in directorships and so on and so forth.”

Hutton temporarily replaces Ison Harrison, who is the second parks and recreation director to resign this month, as the city of Jackson conducts a nationwide search to fill the position on a permanent basis.

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