Mayor-elect Frank Melton has chosen former Mississippi first lady Pat Fordice to serve as Jackson’s director of the Division of Human and Cultural Affairs.
The challenge now becomes getting the move past the City Council. A city ordinance states that new city employees are supposed to live in Hinds County. Fordice lives in Madison.
Melton said during his campaign for mayor that he didn’t care if city employees lived in Afghanistan – as long as they got the job done. He plans to ask the council to revise the ordinance and approve Fordice.
“She’s really an ambassador for the entire state,” Melton said. “I want a more benevolent Jackson, a more pleasing and quieter Jackson, and there is no one more elegant and better suited to do that.”
The human and cultural affairs department, which works with youth and senior services as well as art and culture initiatives, has been led the past four years by Melvin Anderson. Anderson will not be retained.
The position pays $70,000 a year.
Council President Leslie B. McLemore welcomes a vote on Fordice but doubts the residency ordinance will be changed. “As a council member, I can say we’ll take a look at it if it’s presented to us. That’s about all I can say about it,” McLemore said.