The search committee to help find the next Commissioner for the Mississippi Department of Corrections is pushing back their timeline.

The goal was to have the top three candidates submitted to Governor Tate Reeves for his consideration by next week but the statewide response to the coronavirus and the suspension of the legislative session have shifted that farther out.

“We are approaching the interview process but moved it back one week,” Mayor George Flaggs told Y’all Politics on Thursday. “I see no reason why we can’t have the names to the Governor by when the Legislature returns to session.”

The Vicksburg Mayor is leading the search committee that is looking nationwide for a new MDOC Commissioner while juggling his city’s response to COVID-19.

Flaggs previously said that each member of the committee would submit the names of their top five candidates by March 13 and interviews would follow, with the goal being to have the finalists to the Governor in plenty of time to be confirmed by the state Senate before the end of the 2020 legislative session.

“We will give the Governor three names that are very qualified when the session comes back,” Flaggs said.  “We will let the Governor vet those candidates and make his own decision.”

Beyond the obvious operational concerns to improve conditions and address safety and security within the prison system, Flaggs says he wants to make sure whoever is selected will represent the Governor and the state well in that position.

“I’ve got one standard question – Is there anything in your background that would embarrass the Governor or the State of Mississippi,” Flaggs said.  “This is too important not to make sure of that.”

The deadline to apply for the position was February 29.  Nearly 50 applications were received, according to Flaggs.