Council members voted 5-2 to amend the municipal budget, allowing for the salary of the as-of-yet unnamed director. The salary is about $42,000.
Ward 3 Councilman Jim Newell and Ward 6 Councilman Mike Bryan were the sole dissenters. Both argued that tough economic times prohibited the creation of a "luxury position," especially when the city must dip into its reserve funds and freeze salaries to balance the budget.
Others supported the effort, including Ward 4 Councilwoman Nettie Davis and Ward 7 Councilman Willie Jennings. Both said the municipal government must improve communication with residents because it has been a problem in the past.
"You've got to spend money to make money," Jennings said.
Mayor Jack Reed Jr. said during his campaign he would hire a communications director to assist the public and the press, and to spread good news about Tupelo.
Reed was absent from this week's meeting to visit his daughter in Texas, who is due with her first child any day.
The mayor said last week that he had found a person to fill the communications director position, but he wasn't yet ready to announce his pick. The position will be occupied by Sept. 1, he said.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also read Emily's blog, The Government Grind, at NEMS360.com.