Instead, Mayor Jack Reed Jr. handed the microphone to more than a dozen municipal department heads and key city officials who comprise the core of Tupelo's government.
"I want to introduce you to our team of leaders at City Hall," Reed told more than 100 people assembled for the Community Development Foundation's event Friday morning at The Mall of Barnes Crossing's food court.
One by one, the city officials spoke about their roles and the functions of their departments. Some, like Tupelo Police Chief Tony Carleton, just said hi and cracked a quick joke.
Others, like Development Services Department Director BJ Teal, talked at length about staff and services. Teal finally concluded her speech after silent ribbings from fellow colleagues.
"I guess I better stop," Teal said, causing the crowd to erupt with laughter.
The half-hour session provided insight into city business and what top officials handle. For instance:
* Sally Enos Williams, the mayor's executive assistant, spends hours on the phone with residents calling about problems, questions and comments for the mayor. Some, she said, just want to chat.
* Parks and Recreation Director Don Lewis oversees 16 parks and 33 athletic fields sitting on some 600 acres of land.
* Annabeth Wyatt, the city's communications director, makes sure government is open and transparent.
* Tupelo Water amp& Light Manager Johnny Timmons operates on a $61 million electricity budget and a $12 million water and sewer budget.
* Fire Chief Thomas Walker and his staff of 94 people stand ready for fires and rescue missions but hope they're never needed.
* And Chief Operations Officer Darrell Smith revealed the city has 360 miles of electric lines and 470 miles of water lines.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.