Melton Honeymoon VII – The Conspiracy
In an attempt to keep this worthwhile series going in the community, we at Mississippi Politics have picked up the mantle. We are investigating whether or not Frank Melton actually wants the best for our city. While rapelling down the columns of City Hall armed with nothing but a ham sandwich and an i-Pod laying in wait for disgruntled comments, we scored three exclusive interviews – two with city councilpersons (who have asked to remain unnamed for security reasons) and one former mayor who was recently handily dispatched in May 2005.
MP: Councilperson 1, are you upset about Mayor Melton’s firings at the Crime Prevention Unit and the Planning and Development Department?
C1: Hell yes. I didn’t even know. He shouldn’t have done that before Christmas.
MP: How were those two departments doing?
C1: Not too good, but that’s not the point.
MP: Do you have a better plan for those departments?
C1: Uh no, not really.
MP: Oh, ok. Councilperson 2, what do you think?
C2: I can’t believe we did not know. I mean before, we would have two or three years notice and several consultant-based studies on those kinds of decisions. But now, we’re lucky if we get any notice at all.
MP: Do you as councilpeople bear any responsibility to let the level of performance sink as low as they had in those departments?
C1: No way, Bubba. But Ms. Jackie over in Planning sure could bake great cookies! . . I love her. She’s a great American . . . Why I remember . . .
C2: Well, no. That’s ultimately the mayor’s job.
MP: I see. So what you’re saying is, even though these departments had slid into an unacceptable state of decline, you basically are leaving those problems at the feet of the new mayor.
C2: Well, yes, but he is not thinking things through. He is starting to act like an egg-sucking dog.
MP: Well then . . . OK, Mr. Former-Mayor. What do you think?
HJ: Well, the mayor’s job is a very difficult one and it’s hard to say. We had a lot of people gain civil-service protection during my administration, which I am very proud of. That makes terminating just the poor performers individually almost impossible. Candidly, I thought that would have been worth some more votes. I frankly am surprised that Mayor Melton did not engage a study on these matters. Maybe a team of consultants to find out how those employees would feel might have been appropriate. You know, I know some consultants out of . . .
MP: Sorry. What about the King Edward?
HJ: Well everyone wants to see it come back to life. I had eight years, but really, what can you get done in eight years? That’s only two election cycles. The question is, how much more money can we get from the federal government for our local urban renewal. I mean, we are so used to having them pay for everything. Did I mention that I was a former city planner? I teach urban renewal and write grants now. Make sure and spell my name right. H . . A. . .
MP: Thanks Mr. Former-Mayor. I got it.
HJ: Remember, our progress has enemies. But we’ll make sure they won’t turn us back.
MP: By the way, what does that mean?
HJ: I don’t know. My white lawyer told me to say that whenever I could.
To validate our findings, we contacted the Progressive Institute for Spreading Socialism (PISS) and spoke with Moon Unit el-Baradei, its Executive in Residence (PISSER).
MP: Ms el-Baradei, thanks for taking the time.
EB: Hurry up, I have like 20 more requests from these alt-weeklies I’ve never heard of to make comments about on people I’ve never heard of and I have a 2:00 Yoga class and a 2:40 with my Shamen.
MP: Sorry, I’ll be quick. You’ve read the interviews.
EB: Yes, we here at PISS are saddened and disheartened that this, what’s his name, Melton guy in, where is it, Jacksonville, thinks he can just fire people when he wants to. It sounds like this was unprovoked and he’s a real loose cannon. (off the record) He’s a white guy isn’t he?
MP: Actually, no. Thanks for the time.
Stay tuned next week for a little more context and nuance.