This round of Tupelo appointments a smoother process

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Since Mayor Jack Reed Jr. took office in July, he has appointed 20 residents to serve on official municipal committees, commissions and authorities.
Five such appointments were announced Tuesday night.
And like those made earlier in this nascent administration, City Council approval was unanimous and swift – no squabbles, no rejections, no resistance.
It’s a departure from the previous administration headed by then-Mayor Ed Neelly, who would sometimes butt heads with the council over his appointment picks.
According to Tupelo’s form of government, it’s the mayor’s job to make appointments to official municipal boards. But it’s the council’s responsibility to either approve or reject those appointments.
The previous council didn’t hesitate to table or vote down Neelly’s picks as a sign of displeasure, and the practice increased toward the end of his four-year term.
The appointment standoffs haven’t happened in Reed’s term – at least not yet.
The reason, said longtime Ward 4 Councilwoman Nettie Davis, is because the mayor and council consult each other on appointments before they’re made.
“He is including us in submitting names,” said Davis, who has served on the council since 2000. “We know the people in our area, and he’s relying on our knowledge to make some decisions.”
Reed told the Daily Journal this week that one of his first tasks as mayor was to solicit appointment suggestions from the council. This way, he said, he’d have a pool of people from which to pick.
Among those appointed this week were restaurant owner Amanda Hayden to the Coliseum Commission and the Rev. Jimmy L. Barnes to the Drainage Task Force. Both said they were personally asked to serve by someone within the city government and that they considered the request an honor.
“I am glad to serve my community,” Barnes said. “I think it’s something everyone should do.”
Davis said she’s happy with the appointments so far, noting that they represent a diverse segment of the community.
More than one-third of Reed’s appointments and reappointments are minorities – including three of the five named this week. Others include younger people, some in their early 30s.
“One of my goals of appointing people to these committees,” Reed told the council Tuesday, “was adding more diversity to them.”
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.