No Parks and Recreation Director is to be hired at this time
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No Parks and Recreation Director is to be hired at this time

With the Parks and Recreation Director position being vacant for the past six months, Mayor Percy Bland presented Gerard McCall to the city council this morning as his choice to fill the position. McCall is a 1998 graduate of Meridian High School, and he is currently an athletic director in Madison, MS.

“The person that I presented today was just as qualified or more qualified on paper than any other people I’ve talked to. This person has the experience. His resume and background speaks for itself. So, to say someone note experienced or don’t have the managerial experience—that’s just not true.”

The mayor sought out McCall and also around seven other people he thought would be fit for the position. While he believes McCall is the most qualified, some of the council members don’t think so.

I think it’s exciting that he’s wanting to come back to Meridian, but at the same time, he has limited experience on managing the number of people that he would have to manage in that Parks & Rec Department,” said Councilwoman Kim Houston. Houston, Councilman Weston Lindemann, and Councilwoman Fannie Johnson voted no.

“Currently, we haven’t been receiving any complaints about the way our Parks & Rec Department has been functioning. We have three upper-level managers that have been running that department from the programs to the activities to just about every area of Parks & Rec,” said Houston.

However, Mayor Bland said the three middle managers currently managing the department are having to do additional duties that exceed their job description.

“Right now I’ve had three middle managers that have been trying to serve the role, and I have my HR Director kind of being over that department, but that’s not the model that I want to move forward with,” said Mayor Bland.

“At this time, I just don’t feel like it’s good timing. There’s an active investigation still going on with the Parks & Rec Department, so we’ve just got a few things that I think we need to get cleaned out before we move forward,” said Houston.

The mayor plans to move forward with other candidates in the future.