Meridian, Miss. There are currently three department heads with the City of Meridian who Mayor Percy Bland has yet to present to the city council for confirmation. In July the newly elected mayor stated that the Parks and Recreation Director, Mark Naylor, would remain on the job for at least six months of evaluation. An Acting Public Works Director and Acting Chief Administrative Officer were were also named.
"What we're asking is how long can a department head serve without confirmation from the city council," says Dr. George Thomas, who is president for the Meridian City Council.
The city council is planning to get the opinion of an attorney to determine what they can do to address the issue of department heads who have not been confirmed. They're also awaiting an opinion from the Meridian Civil Service Commission concerning a number of other city workers who've been appointed by the mayor on a temporary basis.
"We have probably 15 or 20 employees that have been employed temporarily by the mayor. These are employees that have come out and we want to know what do you do about those persons?" says Thomas.
"Those temporary and part-time positions are positions that have already been passed." says Mayor Bland. "They're paid for in the budget. The real issue is that this goes back to 2005 and 2006. We have a lot of part-time or temporary workers that are more important than the 8, or how ever many people, that they think have been appointed since I became mayor in July."
Council members expect the Civil Service Commission for the city to answer their questions, which include how long a temporary employee can work for the city without going through due process, at its meeting in November.
Meanwhile, in response to the council's concerns about department heads, Mayor Bland says he's ready to take some action.
"We have our CAO. We need to put his name on the table, I guess within the next month or so. I still want to talk to a couple of the city council folks to see what their feelings are about Curt Goldacker. Curt Goldacker's leadership, past experience, and success speaks for itself."