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Mayor: City will probably conduct own job search

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
July 19, 2001
Mayor John Robert Smith said Wednesday he will probably not hire an outside firm to conduct a search to fill two high-profile vacancies in city government.
Smith was referring to the two vacancies created when Police Chief Gregg Lewis and Public Works Director Benny Wolfe announced their retirements in June.
Storms said last week that city officials had already asked Assistant Police Chief Benny DuBose about whether he is interested in replacing Lewis.
Smith declined to say which other city employees had been approached, or to comment on when either position might be filled.
The mayor also answered critics' questions about being out of town most of the time since winning re-election June 5.
Smith left for a vacation June 6 and then went directly to the Kennedy School of Government, returning on June 29. On July 11, Smith left to go to a wholesale market for his family's drugstore, Point Rexall, returning July 16.
During his absence, Lewis and Wolfe resigned and the Meridian City Council made a controversial appointment to the Meridian School Board.
Smith said attending the Kennedy School of Government was a "once in a lifetime opportunity" he couldn't pass up.
He said his staff is capable of handling the everyday business of the city, adding that being out of town did not prevent him from making important decisions, if necessary.
Smith said in the past year, he has worked 44 of 52 weekends and numerous holidays.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3226, or e-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.