A Horn Lake alderman is moving forward with a proposal to hire a new planner for the city and will propose former Southaven mayor Greg Davis be the person his community should hire.
Ward 4 Alderman Charlie Roberts said he wants the city to name Davis for the job, stating that Davis has the expertise and background for the position, and will come at a cost savings for Horn Lake.
The issue is expected to be part of the Feb. 6 board agenda to be talked about in executive session, but Roberts indicated it could be pulled out into public discussion.
Davis, who served as Southaven mayor for 16 years until being defeated by current Mayor Darren Musselwhite in 2013, has moved on beyond his legal troubles that included a guilty verdict on fraud and embezzlement charges in 2014, a verdict that was later successfully changed to not guilty in a retrial of the case last June.
The Mississippi Court of Appeals ordered a new trial in agreement with Davis’ attorney’s contention the first trial put the former Southaven mayor at a disadvantage since it took place in DeSoto County Circuit Court and pretrial publicity kept him from having a fair trial.
Now, Roberts wants to tap into Davis’ knowledge about growing a city to help Horn Lake.
“Look to the east side of Interstate 55,” Roberts said. “Look at the developments, look at the businesses and growth opportunities. With his abilities, wisdom and knowledge of planning and development, he would be great for our city.”
Roberts said a Davis hiring would also come at a cost savings, because his base salary would be about $42,000 annually, which is up to $15,000 less than someone in the position normally demands.
“There are no training expenses or classes that you would have to send him to bring him up to date with his knowledge and wisdom,” Roberts pointed out. “He’s had the training and the ability to start working the first day he is on the job.”
After his acquittal, Davis did consult with the city on a volunteer basis for five days, an action approved by the Board of Aldermen on a 5-2 vote. It was that support Roberts believes Davis will have if he is considered for the full-time position.
“I feel strongly that each and every one will have to make their own decision,” Roberts said. “I do believe that, looking at the city as a whole, we need a planner, he is more than qualified and at the salary base he will be working for, it will save the city $12,000-$15,000 annually.”
Horn Lake’s previous city planner, Keith Briley, resigned late last year to take a similar position with the City of Hernando.
A city planner would have the opportunity to grow Horn Lake in a number of areas, especially in development of the western part of the city where the the Circle G Ranch redevelopment is continuing.
Roberts believes residents are ready to move forward.
“He was vindicated by the courts,” Roberts said. “People are still willing to accept him, people still think the world of him and people still admire and give him honor through all the challenges life deals us.”
Mayor Allen Latimer confirmed Wednesday he continues to have reservations about the Davis hiring and both he and Davis stressed any decision is up to the Board of Aldermen.
That decision may take place when the board meets next, on Feb. 6 at City Hall.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.