No longer COO, Smith may remain city employee

Tupelo stockBy Robbie Ward

Daily Journal

TUPELO – While Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton didn’t retain Darrell Smith as the city’s chief operations officer, a job he’s had for nearly nine years, Smith could remain in City Hall.

Smith might continue working for the city as the project manager of the Major Thoroughfare Program. Shelton confirmed to the Daily Journal that he will ask the City Council to fund the position for Smith.

“We’re looking for a position with the Major Thoroughfare Program to utilize Mr. Smith’s great deal of experience,” Shelton said.

The job was held by Phillip Harbor until he retired earlier this year. While Shelton wouldn’t need permission to fill the position, funding for it was removed in the current budget. He said funding for the position would come from the Major Thoroughfare Program.

However, pay will be another matter. Smith made $81,955 annually as COO, while Harbor earned $52,350. Shelton said he’ll request for the City Council to approve $65,000 annually.

If funding is approved by the council, Shelton said Smith would move to an office on the third floor of City Hall.

Major Thoroughfare Committee chairman Greg Pirkle said he welcomed Smith’s experience with the city as MTP project manager.

“He’ll be a huge asset,” Pirkle said.

Smith has not responded to requests for comment in recent days and declined Tuesday to comment about changing positions with the city.

Smith has worked as COO for the city under four administrations. Don Lewis, who previously served as director of Parks and Recreation, was confirmed Tuesday by the City Council to fill the position.

Click video to hear audio