Davis hired for tourism, starts June 1 in Sardis

Published 5:00 am Friday, May 25, 2018

Davis hired for tourism, starts June 1 in Sardis

Greg Davis

By Myra Bean

Wednesday morning the Town of Sardis Board of Alderman finally put to rest an issue that has been hanging for about two months.

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The board voted 4-1 to hire Greg Davis as the city’s new tourism coordinator and community developer on a contractual basis.

Davis, former mayor of Southaven, beat out three other applicants for the position. Tuesday morning in a special meeting the board met to look at applications and decided to interview the top two candidates, selected from board votes, Wednesday morning.

“He will be good for us,” said Alderman-at-large Michael Price. “We had a lot of good applicants but he stood out with his background and his knowledge of municipalities.”

Davis laid out his perceptions of Sardis and outlined what he hopes to accomplish if given the position. He talked about getting the businesses and residents involved in his plans along with the mayor and board of alderman.

He spoke clearly and confidently showing some of his sense of humor as he convinced the board he was the right person for the job.

Drawing on his success as mayor of Southaven, Davis gave the city board and mayor hope for a new perception of Sardis along with hopes to draw more businesses and industries to the area.

“You have to think outside the box,” he said.

Davis said he rode around Sardis and saw everything for the first time. He encouraged the board to take off the eyes where they see the same thing day after day and look at Sardis as if it is the first time with new eyes.

He spent about 25 minutes talking to the board and answering questions about how he built recreations and ballparks in Southaven along with the amphitheater in Snowden Grove Park.

Davis is a strong believer in supporting the town/city he works and lives. “I shopped in Desoto County. I ate in Desoto County because that sales tax was paying my salary,” he said.

Though the board did not bring up the final years of his term as Mayor, Davis volunteered the information that he had spent six years in courts to prove the charges against him were false. He said he had made a top official mad and was the victim of retaliation with lies. “I have moved on and I hope he has too,” Davis said.

He said the city needs its own website apart from the Chamber of Commerce. One of the main things he said is they have to do something about abandoned cars.

Aesthetics of the city is also a big issue with him using paint and some volunteer hours.

“Regardless of who you hire, there is no magic wand. Everything is not going to turn around in a manner of months. It took me seven years to land a mall in Southaven,” Davis told the board.

Davis’ office will be in Sardis City Hall.

This position was first advised by Panola Partnership to have a tourism director in Sardis but the City Board and Partnership could not agree on all particulars on the contract. When the Partnership wanted to hire someone other than Davis, the Town of Sardis decided to not approve the contract and advertise for its own tourism director and community developer. However, Mayor Lula Palmer said the board hired Davis but she is not agree with the hiring but did not give any specifics.

They pulled together a job description and advertised the position.

Davis and the Board are looking at a June 1 starting date though that had not been determined as of press time.

The “no” vote came from alderman Bonnie Smith, not because she did not agree with Davis being hired, but she wanted more time to look over and ponder both interviewees but the rest of the board was ready to vote.

“I did not come here with a preconceived idea of who to vote for because I do not know either person,” Smith said.

The board voted 4-0-1 with JoJo Still abstaining for the $33,000 contractual salary.

The board has called a special meeting for 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 29 to discuss Davis’ contract and for a Comprehensive Planning Committee Workshop which will start around 5 p.m.