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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  • by lou on May 6, 2009 at 10:35 PM
    well well that sounds like i heard that before. and whats your point? the word has a good bit to say about busy bodies and gossipppppers. i would say him "CHOOSING"to leave was his choice due to the pressure of others in HIGH places,at lest that is what i was told.check the records,i believe its been done before.i know,it would be very hard some people to make such choices after they have been on a job for 20 years. committment, i would say that he was committed.fear will cause some to sit on the sidelines and fault find instead of getting in the game.i would say that he put up and didnt shut up. can you match what he is doing? " Safire said. "John Connolly, who is the secretary of the treasury, then warned Nixon that he'd be charged with flip-flopping. Nixon's response was, 'Circumstances change.'
  • by Lou on May 6, 2009 at 09:01 PM
    Flip flopping. Oh let me count the ways. He was elected in 2005 as a Democrat. Then he becomes a Republican, to get attention, I guess, or to ride whatever political wind there was. Who knows? Then he decides to be an independent and then a Democrat again. He applied for and got a job with MUW, hems and haws about whether he's staying in the city council race, but eventually says he chooses the city council after he's fired from MUW. And now I hear he has picked up qualifying papers to run for Mr. Young's House of Representatives seat. Yes, he's totally committed to Ward 5. Is that enough flip flopping for you?
  • by Anonymous on May 6, 2009 at 07:57 PM
    never mind, i found out. http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/22/campaign.wrap/ http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php? How Do We Define A Political Flip-Flop? by Mara Liasson • This is the season for flip-flops — the political u-turns those candidates make when they need to change their positions. The word itself has become the political epithet of the season and is so ubiquitous that it is easy to lose track of what it means. According to William Safire, author of Safire's Political Dictionary, the term "flip-flop" dates to Richard Nixon's presidency. Safire worked for Nixon as a speechwriter. "I was doing a speech on imposing wage in price controls," Safire said. "John Connolly, who is the secretary of the treasury, then warned Nixon that he'd be charged with flip-flopping. Nixon's response was, 'Circumstances change.' "
  • by joe on May 6, 2009 at 07:37 PM
    what is flip flopping?
  • by Lou on May 6, 2009 at 04:01 PM
    I hate to use the word liar to describe someone, because we all have told a lie at one time or another. But I do have trouble believing Mr. Harris on this one. He has a track record of flip flopping and that plays against believing him.
  • by common sense on May 6, 2009 at 03:35 PM
    i agree sister! I happen to agree with Mike, I too think John Harris is a liar. The video does make him seem like one. keshia i like what you said also,"seem like". there were many folks that said mr harris was out of the race too, but he wasnt.again, if you feel that your vote is important,why dont you call him and get the real story.why is it no one wants to talk to him. an interview can be very subjective if you were not present. all i know is that mr harris has been hammered.no one is convicted in the eyes of the law until proven gilty.from what i saw it was not conclusive that your assertions are true that mr harris was not truthful.but in a greater scope of things, i can see how folks are doing everything they can to discredit this man.i wonder why? angain it must be something more to this story than meets the eye and ear.
  • by Sister Location: Meridian on May 6, 2009 at 11:02 AM
    Boys and girls PRAY,take a nap! Harris is consuming your lives only God in your lives deserves this much attention!
  • by Keshia Location: Meridian on May 5, 2009 at 10:59 PM
    I happen to agree with Mike, I too think John Harris is a liar. The video does make him seem like one. I do not trust him and all of my support will be for Bobby Smith in the June election
  • by Anonymous on May 5, 2009 at 09:44 PM
    Look, did he resign or was he terminated? He has said both several times in this interview.
  • by Kevin Location: ward 5 on May 5, 2009 at 05:47 PM
    Mike you are idot, keep posting you are only motivating Harris supporters. You are redneck and racist.
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