City council approves 4 mayoral appointments

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 7:09 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The new Meridian City Council Tuesday approved two department heads appointed by Mayor Jimmie Smith and re-appointed two others.

Dustin Markham was appointed municipal court judge. He replaces Robbie Jones who will now focus on his private practice.

“I’m the first African American judge in the city of Meridian. That is 261 years of history in the city. It is a blessing. I want to be able to make some changes so we can serve our citizens,” said Markham.

Markham is a well-known attorney in Meridian. He served on the city council for one term. Markham also ran unsuccessfully for mayor. Markham said that he is ready for his new role. He also said he’ll be fair in hearing evidence in cases he reviews.

“I want to be able to make a few changes so that we make sure that we serve our citizens. We want to make sure that we are firm on how we handle of ow we handle city court. It doesn’t need to be business usual. We need to make sure that we are imposing the penalty that is necessary to reveal somethings that is going on that is not so positive in Meridian,” said Markham.

The city also has a new city public works director. David Hodge replaces Hugh Smith. Hodge was previously the public works director in Madison and has an engineering background.

“It is very exciting. When I got the call from the mayor, he said that he wanted an engineer for that position, someone with technical abilities. Someone that can manage all the work that needs to take place over there. Somebody that can move that department into responding and being responsible to the needs of the citizens,” said Hodge.

Two department heads will keep their positions. Brandye Latimer was re-appointed as Chief Financial Officer.

“I appreciate the council and the mayor having faith in me to continue to do what I’ve been doing for the past four years. I will continue to put the city of Meridian first. I’ll handle our weather issues, budgets, and everything that comes before us,” said Latimer.

Doug Stephens will remain as the public safety director.

“There will be a lot of work to be done. As I told the mayor, I will be in office waiting on further directions. I’m excited and thankful for another opportunity to serve the citizens,” said Stephens.

Latimer and Stephens were both appointed in 2018.

A lot of changes and a lot of promises were made. We’ll see what happens under the new administration.

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