Meridian, Miss. Ed Skipper has been a fixture at Meridian's City Hall for as long as just about anyone can remember. The Chief Financial Officer and City Clerk has overseen the city's budgets and general elections for years. Skipper says he started working for the City more than 35 years ago. Mayor Percy Bland's administration is his sixth to serve. Mayor Bland says it was a difficult decision, "All department heads work at the will and pleasure of the Mayor, and we decided to go in a different direction. The conversation with Mr. Skipper today wasn't an easy choice, and I made a decision, and this is a part of governance, this is part of leadership. You have got to make tough decisions, and you've got to surround yourself with a team that you think is going to help put you and the City where it needs to be."
Skipper was joined by his wife as he cleaned out his office, noting it all happened so suddenly."It was a bit of a shock. I've given the bulk of my adult life to the City of Meridian," said Skipper. "I hope i've done a good job serving the citizens and the city, and there are some good employees. We had some great employees in our department, and I want to thank all of them for their hard work through the years."
Just before firing Skipper, the Mayor notified four of five Civil Service Commissioners they will be removed from office. John Watts, Carol Smith, Robert Stockton, and John House, Jr. were all given notice. Only Fred Liddell, the Mayor's only appointment on the commission, remains. The Mayor says longtime commission secretary Gloria Kirby was suspended pending an investigation. He says he had no choice, in order to maintain the integrity of the civil service commission. "They've been given notice of course, the notice had to deal with Open Meeting Act, violations of that, and also we have had a test that there were violations made, and of course we will deal with all those things at the hearing," Bland explained.
The Mayor says the Commissioners will be given a hearing next Monday evening at City Hall. The hearing will be before the "appointing power" of the Commission. The appointing power is Meridian Mayor Percy Bland.
The hearing is open to the public, and Mayor Bland invites anyone who is interested to attend. It is Monday, February 10th, at 5:00 p.m. at Meridian City Hall.