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District 4 candidates share their views on metro government

By By Lynette Wilson / staff writer
Oct. 22, 2002
While Meridian businessman Robert Stockton said a unified city-county government would be ideal for the area, he also believes a deep-rooted power struggle stands in the way.
But Stockton, who owns Stockton Photography, said he still wants candidates running for the vacant District 4 seat on the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors to take a stab at the issue.
District 4 voters will choose a new supervisor Nov. 5 to fill the post left vacant in July by the death of Q.V. Sykes. The district includes parts of southwest Meridian and adjacent Lauderdale County.
Running for the job are Rickey Harris, a county patrolman; Melvin Wright, a retired hospital worker; John Nelson Jr., a private investigator; and Joe Norwood, a television cameraman.
All are Democrats.
Candidates share views
Harris, Wright, Nelson and Norwood recently shared their views on a unified city-county government, often called "metro government."
Harris and Nelson said they don't see it in Lauderdale County's future. Nelson said the city and county now provide overlapping services, but nobody wants to give up power.
Harris said he thinks the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors and the Meridian City Council have worked well together and that the current structure should be maintained.
Wright said he's undecided about the issue and has a lot to learn. Wright said that both the city and the county must work together.
Norwood backs idea
Norwood, however, said a unified government makes sense. He said a unified government "would bring about more effective government and eliminate duplication of services."
Norwood said the city council and the board of supervisors have had problems cooperating in the past. He said the two have had "a lot of city-versus-county squabbling."
Norwood said the city and the county must work together to move the community forward and that a unified government is a step in the right direction.
Stockton agreed: "The question is who's going to give up control. If you could get on the same page with unified government, the benefits would be extravagant."
Here is a look the special election to fill the District 4 seat on the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors.
The district: Lauderdale County Supervisor District 4 includes parts of southwest Meridian and adjacent portions of Lauderdale County.
The election: Voters will choose a new supervisor in the Nov. 5 general election to fill the unexpired term of former Supervisor Q.V. Sykes.
The position: The District 4 supervisor post became vacant after the death of Sykes in July. The job pays $37,434 a year.