Jackson Needs a Money Manager | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Jackson Needs a Money Manager

Here's something we all know: Mayor Melton likes to throw money around. Prior to his election, he was well known for sending kids to college, "adopting" young men into his home, and handing out high paying jobs to friends, former enemies and family.

The problem is, it isn't always his money he's tossing around. As a result, two different institutions that Melton runs are now struggling.

The first is the Aaron Henry Foundation, which Mr. Melton is credited with starting at WLBT. In the JFP last week ("Daddy Warbucks Broke?") Maggie Burks revealed that Melton has made promises to college freshmen the foundation can't keep—young students had to scramble to find loans upon learning that their scholarships weren't funded, and with no warning.

The second struggling institution: Jackson. This week the City Council announced a balanced 2007-2008 budget based on a sharp increase in sanitation and water fees, a debt refinance and job cuts. Now we're told the city still needs $3 million to make up for Melton's management of the 2006-2007 fiscal year.

Frank Melton has been responsible for combined budget shortfalls of around $10 million in two years. Managing this budget and delivering services to Jacksonians should be the Mayor's job. But he's clearly not doing it.

So, you might ask, what does Melton actually do with this money?

You probably know about the lawn crews comprised of young men—many of them felons—who often also live in his house. You probably know about the temporary workers, hundreds of thousands worth, including his campaign "enforcers," who work political rallies on city time. And you've already heard about the contract rider that City Attorney Sarah O'Reilly-Evans has to augment her $113,000 salary with large payouts whenever she handles bond writing.

But did you know that until two weeks ago Melton was paying his sister-in-law $74,000 to work part time for the city?

As citizens, we need to demand two things. First, Melton must stop using the city's coffers as a personal cashbox for cronies, friends and family.

Second, Melton needs to hire an experienced city financial manager and completely hand over the reins of the city budget to that person. That includes regular, complete reports to the council, media and public by that person.

Melton could then either take a $1 salary and spend time giving speeches or—better yet—step down from office and get serious about raising some money for his ailing foundation. He has students who were counting on his promises for a college education. He ought to at least see if he can make good on that.

Previous Comments

ID
75361
Comment

Amen! JFP is showing OUT this week!

Author
honey2me
Date
2007-09-26T20:34:28-06:00
ID
75362
Comment

How about the $250,000 in fire protection money he refused from UMC? Or the car he just had to have leased to him when he could have used the existing mayor's car available to him. Running a City is not like volunteering at the YMCA. You just can't steal water from a fire hydrant to fill the pool, or in our case - the city coffers.

Author
pikersam
Date
2007-09-26T21:03:31-06:00
ID
75363
Comment

Didn't little frankie promise not take a salary if elected? Precinct 4 had 70 officers when little frankie took office. It now has 45. That unkept promise would put at least 3 more back on the street. little frankie and promises....

Author
Cliff Cargill
Date
2007-09-27T06:43:30-06:00
ID
75364
Comment

Well, and it sounds like at least one of Smith's bodyguards came from Precinct 4 (Kent Daniels). Anybody know where James Cornelius was working?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-27T07:25:04-06:00
ID
75365
Comment

This poor little rich boy story of melton's is about to run out. As I have said many times before, "You can't give up the chicken if you need the eggs." Jackson does not need a "Money Manager" Jackson needs a MAYOR who has what it takes to operate a city. melton only brought fast talk, lies and promises that a second grader could see through. He also brought the appearance of a criminal with total disrespect and disregard for the Citizens of Jackson. melton knows that he does not KNOW; however, he has done a darn good job of making too many others think that he does. What Jackson needs is the result of the FBI report and swift movement on getting melton into the environment where he belongs: This place is not CITY HALL.

Author
justjess
Date
2007-09-28T09:02:06-06:00
ID
75366
Comment

AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! You are right. Jackson needs a MAYOR! I voted for him because I thought he had executive ability to help the city. Boy, was I wrong. How the heck did WBLT-TV ever make it with him at the helm? Is it possible to start a re-call campaign in this state?

Author
Turtleread
Date
2007-09-28T10:46:42-06:00

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