Meridian's Mayor Says Search is On for New CAO

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Meridian, Miss. Meridian's Chief Administrative Officer is out, and a new Interim CAO is in, after city council members tonight voted to suspend the pay of one of the City's top officials.

Curt Goldacker has been serving the City as the acting Chief Administrative Officer since he was appointed by Mayor Percy Bland July 2nd. But Meridian's City Council never confirmed that appointment, and now four months later, the Mayor is going back to the drawing board.

It was a unanimous vote by the city council tonight to stop the pay for the city's CAO, effective November 20th. Mayor Percy Bland says he's known for some time he couldn't get the votes to confirm Capt. Curt Goldacker, who is also employed by NAS Meridian, and it's time to make another choice, "So I will move ahead, and forge ahead with the City Council, as we collectively select our next CAO," Bland said.
Goldacker was not at Tuesday night's Council meeting, and neither was the Interim Public Works Director Hugh Smith, whom the Mayor has tapped to also fill in as interim CAO, until he brings the council a new appointee.

Ward Two Councilman Dustin Markham said this regarding the shake-up, "We have to have the Administration understand that if we are going to have someone in the CAO position, we have to have someone who's going to commit to the City of Meridian."

The Mayor says he will keep Goldacker close by for a while to ease the transition, but he will not be a city employee, "I think it's only good for me to sign off on things that he has completed, and are ongoing, as we transition through, but i think he'll do it like he's done on so many other things, on a volunteer basis. So that's what we're looking foward to doing."

Mayor Bland says he has a very qualified pool of candidates for the CAO position and will bring an appointee to the Council for confirmation before the 90-day deadline.

The Mayor says he plans to submit Interim Public Works Director Hugh Smith for confirmation at the next council meeting. Smith, will be also be performing the CAO duties on an interim basis with no extra salary.