Bland Appoints Department Heads

Meridian, Miss. James Lee was appointed by Meridian Mayor Percy Bland
Tuesday to be the city's new police chief.

The appointment was approved by the city council on a 4-1 vote, with Ward 5's Randy Hammon voting 'no'.

Lee was the training coordinator for the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security, which operates within the Department of Public Safety.

Curt Goldacker, retired from Navy Meridian, was nominated for chief administrative officer, but the council vote was tabled. Goldacker says he needs to give 90 days notice at his current job.

"There are a lot of things that we have to talk about," said Goldacker. "I know that the city council is very favorable, but we've got to look at what the options are and I'll let you all know in a short amount of time."

"Goldacker is going to be a change agent. Goldacker, once we get everything worked out, he's going to be a game changer for this city as CAO," said Bland. "We're going to keep working. We did not hide the fact that he is in a role that he has to make sure that they bring new leadership in and he's currently trying to handle that."

Bunky Partridge was appointed to head Homeland Security. It passed on a 5-0 vote.

Michael Goggans, who was general counsel for Peavey Electronics, was approved unanimously to be city attorney.

Attorney Robbie Jones, who has previously served in the position, was appointed to be municipal judge and approved on a 5-0 vote of the council. He currently serves on the Choctaw Tribal Supreme Court and municipal judge for the town of DeKalb.

Bland appointed Dr. Evadna Barksdale Lyons to the Meridian School Board. She has a Ph.D. in education leadership and a master's degree in nursing, and works in nursing education currently at East Central Community College.

Other unanimous appointments Tuesday are: Ed Skipper, city clerk; Anthony Clayton, fire chief; John McClure, community development; and Hugh Smith, acting director for public works. Smith will be evaluated for at least 6 months and then a permanent decision will be made.

The council chose Dr. George Thomas to be its president for the new fiscal year and Dustin Markham as vice-president. Both votes were 5-0.