After getting hit with a $170,000 reimbursement bill, Southaven Mayor Greg Davis says he's staying in office and plans to run for re-election. But is the public willing to let him keep that vow?
"We've issued a demand that the Mayor repay the city of Southaven $170,782.28. This is for the city's reimbursement," Stacy Pickering, Mississippi State Auditor, stated at a news conference on Wednesday. "The Mayor now has 30 days of which to meet this demand or begin to provide some detailed receipts from these purchases."
As always, the venerable newspaper the Desoto Times-Tribune knew a headline story when they saw it, and the financial pickle Southaven Mayor Greg Davis finds himself in meets the clear definition of front-page news.
"It's certainly something that people are talking about at cafes and gas stations and water coolers around town," noted Robert Lee Long, Desoto Times-Tribune Community Editor.
Long has covered the triumphs, trials and tribulations of the mercurial Davis since he took office in 1997. He's observed how the politically savvy former State Representative went about methodically transforming a relatively sleepy Northern Mississippi community into a recognized economic juggernaut of the Magnolia State.
Long said Southaven is now "a city that's really in the top five in terms of population and amenities and things like that."
Ironically, Davis' success as Mayor in spearheading the city's economic boon over the past 10 years made the job itself more attractive to potential political foes. Who wouldn't like to lead a city that's ripe in expanding industry growth, jobs creation and soaring capital investment in the millions?
"Over the last few years we weren't a city this size," Mayor Davis said. "We've grown and I think some of those expenses we made helped us grow to the point we're at."
But, after 14 years, despite the financial obstacle and the public embarrassment that accompanied it, Davis watchers expect him to carry on rather than be carried out on his proverbial shield.
"Southaven has become city into its own and I think the power of the office obviously is alluring to a lot of people that would like that position," added Long. "There are people, I'm sure, that would like that job. But, the Mayor has indicated he plans to run again. So, everybody will have to wait and see. It's great political drama. We'll have to wait and see how it all plays out."