By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Mayor Jack Reed Jr. will not seek re-election to office in 2013, leaving open the seat he has occupied for just one term.
Reed announced his decision in a full-page ad in Sunday’s Daily Journal. He cited several factors leading to the move, including a desire to spend more time with his family and resume work at his family business – Reed’s Department Store.
“I never intended it to be a life-time career change,” Reed said in his ad. “We have a family business in a very competitive marketplace. My family and business associates have stepped up to fill a void for a president who has been pitching in some nights and many Saturdays and Sundays.”
Since taking office in July 2009, Reed has implemented numerous changes in city government, some of which he mentioned in his ad. He created the position of a municipal communications director, established a recurring fund for neighborhood revitalization, ushered in the passage of Sunday alcohol sales, and formed volunteer-citizen task forces to improve neighborhoods, education, health and fitness and the economy.
Also under his term, which ends July 2013, Reed helped Tupelo cinch its fourth All-America City award and win its first successful annexation case in more than two decades.
His time in office hasn’t been without controversy, though. Although he denied a direct role in rehiring Assistant Police Chief Robert Hall, the episode brought criticism of the mayor during the first year of his term.
Hall, who initially had left the city in 2006 after pleading guilty to misdemeanors, resigned the second time after the state declined to reinstate his police certification.
Reed also faced criticism and opposition to his attempts to implement a sweeping neighborhood revitalization plan. The first draft would have used Major Thoroughfare Program roads funds to finance it; the second and more comprehensive plan would have used urban renewal bonds instead.
Neither plan passed the City Council, although smaller strategies have since been implemented, including a new rental permitting program and an annual $600,000 neighborhood revitalization allocation.