Former Tupelo tennis board forms own group

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tennis players who resigned from the city’s sanctioned Tennis Association have formed a new league and will continue to host their own games without municipal oversight.
It’s called the Lee County Community Tennis Association.
Daniel Pounders, who until recently was president of Tupelo Tennis Association’s board of directors, said his group will use facilities in Shannon, Saltillo or elsewhere.
“We’re going to go on,” Pounders said. “We’ll do what we have to.”
The entire 12-member board had quit earlier this month over disagreements about the city’s plans to hire a tennis director. Pounders said the group agreed with the decision to create that position but not with the person tapped to fill the role.
Qualifications and conflicts of interest were at the heart of the group’s concerns, he said.
But when members levied their complaints, Pounders said, they felt as though the city had already made its decision and wouldn’t budge. He said Parks and Recreation Director Don Lewis and Mayor Jack Reed Jr. were behind the the hiring pick.
Former board members held a private meeting with Reed last week to discuss the reasons for their resignations. Many also attended a public meeting Tuesday at the Parks and Recreation office, but no one spoke openly about the situation leading to their departures.
Reed said Thursday that he’s disappointed in the controversy, which he deemed not worthy of news, and that while names had been pitched for the job, no one had yet been hired.
Lewis also weighed in: “They did say they were concerned about conflict of interest, and I told them while the city will have the final say about who is hired, some board members can sit in on the interview process. They don’t get final say-so, though.”
The city now is trying to assemble a new board of directors for the Tupelo Tennis Association.

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.