Meridian Mayor Cheri Barry says she is surprised by complaints about her recent appointments and those to come, but she is confident in her choices.
After hearing about the controversy surrounding her newest nomination for police chief, Barry defended Lee Shelbourn. She said his past experience speaks loudly.
"He's been on highway patrol before. He's been a policeman before. He has been the chief of police in Petal, Mississippi. He's worked in Hattiesburg. He's worked for the attorney general's office," said Barry. "He has years of experience behind him."
Barry said her staff first selected about a dozen people to consider for the position of police chief. She then interviewed the top five and said she knew Shelbourn was the perfect fit.
"I found out just how professional he was and the type of leadership he would bring to the city of Meridian and our police department," said Barry. "He was perfect. He was just what I was looking for to take us and our community into the 21st century."
Barry said she makes her appointments based strictly on qualifications. She said she only wants the best professionals for each position.
"And what I'm looking for for the city of Meridian is the best and the brightest people that we can possibly take to help us move Meridian forward," Barry said.
Barry said she does not want division in this community. She tells us her appointments are to make Meridian better.
"I want us all on the same page so that we can see Meridian grow as one," the mayor said.