Harris Speaks At Length About Employment Controversy

By: Tametria Conner Email
By: Tametria Conner Email

Meridian city councilman, John Harris, Sunday granted an interview telling his side of the story about his hiring and firing by Mississippi University for Women. Harris had declined several Newscenter 11 requests for interviews in the past few weeks.

Harris resigned from his position as chief of police for Meridian Community College to accept the same job at MUW in Columbus. He was employed there two weeks before being fired May 1.

Harris said he was terminated because he refused to take his name off the Meridian city council ballot after MUW vice- president Perry Sansing pressed him get out of the race.

Harris said Sansing knew all along he was running for re-election.

"As a matter of fact, he knew. I can guarantee you he told me that," Harris said.

Harris said his run for re-election was never a problem until two days after he was hired. Harris says a legislator contacted Mr. Sansing asking questions about his employment. Harris says he believes it was a bullying tactic and he wasn't going to give in.

Harris said he had planned to resign from MUW after Rep. Charles Young's funeral because he didn't want the limelight to be on him. But Harris said Sansing didn't want to wait and he was terminated on May 1.

Asked if he had lied at any point, Harris said, "Why would I sit up and lie?"

Harris says it didn't make sense for Sansing to place demands on him without a contract.

"And I can tell you this, there was never a contract drawn up with any kind of specifics telling me what I could and couldn't do," said Harris.

Harris says despite all the drama, he's still confident going into the primaries.

Asked if he felt that the controversy has cast a shadow on his campaign?," Harris said, "No. I think it has some empowerment, strengthened."

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