Mayor Responds to Criticism

By: Rachel Alig Email
By: Rachel Alig Email

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.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Marie Location: Meridian on Sep 16, 2009 at 06:53 AM
    Get this straight. Not everyone in the Black community voted for Percy Bland. Neither Percy Bland nor Cheri Barry is qualified for the mayor's position. They have no experience in government. Each should at least have had City Council or Board of Supervisor experience. The new CAO is retired military. We are now governed by the inexperienced.It's bad enough that the City Council members are so ignorant and uncaring about those they represent. I urge all young people to leave Meridian NOW. Voters who care need to be searching their neighborhoods to find replacement candidates for all city slots. Meridian cannot advance with the amount of inexperience we have at the top. For the record, Cassandra Sloan did not have experience in government either. I am an African American female who places a high value on qualifications and experience.
  • by beforeal Location: meridian on Sep 15, 2009 at 03:41 PM
    ok come on let's be foreal while you guys give sherry berry pats on the back for taking someone's job do you pat yourself on the back when your's is gone, this is not about percy balnd this is about peoples lives,suppose they take her job she say she knows what she's doing, but does she?
  • by doris maye Location: lauderdale,miss on Sep 15, 2009 at 03:30 PM
    this is the most ridicoud thing i ever saw,this man worked all these years nobody complain i bet before its over you all will wish you had voted for someone else.what could be more racial?, but what goes around comes around
  • by You Wouldn't Know Location: Meridian on Sep 15, 2009 at 03:00 PM
    To They Don't Care-there are a few of us who do care. Meridian has been a racist town all of my 60 plus years of living here and very little has changed. The only difference is I can now go into what was once known as the Marks-Rothenburg building (Riley Center) through the front door as a guest and not through the back door as the cleaning woman. I've experienced both worlds.
  • by NICKY Location: NESHOBA on Sep 15, 2009 at 12:21 PM
    I FEEL THAT MAYOR BARRY IS TOTALLY BIASED IN HER DECISION, SHE SHOULD BE HONEST AND FORTHCOMING, THIS IS AN AT WILL STATE BUT WAS THE CURRENT CHIEF REALLY DOING THAT BAD OF A JOB..I'VE NEVER HEARD ONE COMPLAINT ABOUT HIM. IT JUST GOES TO SHOW THAT RACISM IS STILL IN FULL EFFECT IN THE SOUTH, ESPECIALLY HERE WHERE WE DO NOTHING TO HELP EDUCATE AND REFORM THE LESS FORTUNATE. GOD KNOWS THE TRUTH, WHETHER ANYONE WANTS TO ADMIT IT OR NOT, YOU CAN FOOL PEOPLE BUT YOU CAN'T FOOL GOD. AND IF I'M WRONG THEN I WILL APOLOGIZE BUT AS A BLACK WOMAN IN THE SOUTH I HAVE EXPERIENCED FIRST HAND THE HATRED OF RACISM, AND THE GOOD OLE BOY SYSTEM, AND IT'S WRONG. WRONG IS WRONG EVEN IF EVERYONE DOES IT, RIGHT IS RIGHT EVEN IF NO-ONE DOES IT. WE NEED TO WAKE UP, GOD IS COMING AFTER WHAT'S IN YOUR HEART AND NOT YOUR SKIN COLOR. RACISM SHOULD NEVER BE EXCUSED OR JUSTIFIED, COME ON MERIDIAN THIS IS THE YEAR 2009, WHEN WILL WE WAKE UP AND STOP THE MADNESS.
  • by They dont care on Sep 15, 2009 at 11:32 AM
    Majority of the residents of frank berry courts, eastern/western gardens do not care who gets city jobs. if percy bland was white they would not have cared about the mayor race. The schools are majority black, the pta is majority white. They dont care.
  • by SERIOUSly Tired Location: Meridian on Sep 15, 2009 at 11:15 AM
    Why did Diva only invite the "blacks in this community" to join the march? Well, I don't suppose that actually needs an explanation! Anyway, isn't the purpose here to advance our community and move forward economically for every race- not just African Americans? Mayor Barry has every right as the mayor to appoint those she feels best match her vision for moving Meridian forward. I support her efforts no matter what color the appointed individuals are. If her choice(s) prove to be wrong, then make a complaint- but let's at least see how well they do before causing such an uproar.
  • by Diva Location: meridian on Sep 15, 2009 at 10:04 AM
    The NAACP will march in front of the city council tonight at 5pm. Please make a sign and join us! We need to fill the police courtroom tonight!After tonight Mayor Barry will understand that the blacks in this community are SERIOUS!!!!!!
  • by jo on Sep 15, 2009 at 09:45 AM
    For all you people who think she hired an AA fire chief to apease the AA community, your wrong. She approached A.C. about the fire chiefs position before even looking at applicants for the police chiefs position.
  • by Jason Location: Meridian on Sep 15, 2009 at 08:09 AM
    What difference does it make? Meridian is and probably always will be a crap hole of a town. It's dirty, run down, and not a very safe place to raise a family. To top it all of, it's apparently extremely racist on all sides. Just look at these posts and see how many people are concerned about race. Most of the problems is not the city government's fault. It the citizens of Meridian that are the problem. Too much time is spent arguing about pointless BS, instead of actually doing something productive to make things better.
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