Council Surprised by Skipper's Termination

Meridian, Miss. Meridian City Council members say after chief financial officer and city clerk, Ed Skipper, devoted more than 35 years working for the city, his sudden termination came as a shock.

"It would seem that after all these years, there would be no surprises for us, but that was a real surprise," Councilwoman Barbara Henson says.

Mayor Percy Bland fired Ed Skipper Tuesday afternoon, explaining that he was ready to move in a different direction. Council members say the mayor did not tell them about his decision to fire Skipper, and they expect it to be a tough loss.

"You lose a little bit of comfort as it relates to the individual who's in that capacity, who's proven day in and day out that they can do the work; they can keep you informed," Councilman Dustin Markham explains.

"We've had mayors who came in and would remove someone in an office or someone in a lesser position than Ed had, and it seems we were conditioned to believe that's what would happen again. But when Ed was dismissed, it was a shock," Henson adds.

But council members say the department heads and civil service workers can be fired at discretion of the mayor, and the council will work toward moving forward.

The council president and vice president have called for a special meeting Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at the third floor of City Hall. They plan to discuss personnel issues and how this decision could impact the rest of the fiscal year.

"I think I speak for the entire council when I say it concerns us to the extent of the financial stability, the ability to have the information given to us and us understanding it as it relates to the financial stability," Markham says.

Markham says the city will begin work on the new budget in just over a month, and they hope to soon see a replacement CFO.