TUPELO – Carlyle “Smitty” Harris has resigned from the Tupelo Airport Authority.
Last week, in the midst of news that airport executive director Terry Anderson’s job may be in jeopardy, Harris declined to confirm report that he had stepped down.
However, in a letter sent this weekend to Mayor Jack Reed Jr., Anderson and the media, Harris said he resigned “as a matter of conscience.”
“Now that I have determined that Mayor Jack Reed Jr. has received my letter of resignation from the Tupelo Airport Authority, I confirm that I am no longer a member of that body,” he wrote.
“I can no longer support a group which I believe has acted in a manner that is not in the best interests of Tupelo, Northeast Mississippi and certainly not in the best interests of the most productive, dedicated and effect airport director and leader in southeast America,” Harris continued.
Harris had been a member of the airport authority since June 2007. It was his second stint on the authority, having served from September1985 to November 1988.
He has been a vocal supporter of Anderson, as well as efforts to expand the airport, including extending the runway. He also led a road committee that looked into rerouting West Jackson Street Extended.
But with the authority reportedly pondering Anderson’s job, Harris has apparently had enough.
“Terry Anderson’s departure will do great harm to the knowledge and experience necessary to be an effective executive director of Tupelo Regional Airport,” Harris concluded in his letter.
Board members have declined to talk about Anderson’s job status, but they will meet in a regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Tuesday.
Harris said is resignation was effective immediately and that he would not be attending. That leaves the authority with four members.
This morning, Harris said he had nothing more to add.
“I really don’t want to say anything else about the decision or about any other reasons,” he said.
Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal