May 1, 2009
Mississippi University for Women Campus Police Chief and Ward 5 Meridian City Councilman John Harris will continue to seek re-election despite the MUW requirement for him to live in Columbus.
According to The Meridian Star newspaper, Thursday night at a "Meet The Candidates" event in Meridian, Harris announced his intention to stay in the race.
Earlier this week, MUW Assistant to the President and Chief Counsel Perry Sansing said Harris would be allowed to finish his term on the Meridian City Council -- which expires in July -- but then would be expected to be in Columbus at the behest of the university.
State law requires councilmen live in the political area in which they serve, and a recent opinion issued by the Mississippi Legislature''s Joint Committee on Performance Evaluation and Review requires Harris live in Columbus to serve as campus police chief.
Harris has a residence in Meridian and an apartment in Columbus.
Harris, a first-term Democrat, who previously worked as Meridian Community College''s chief of police, accepted the post at MUW after qualifying for re-election.
He is the only Democrat running for the seat and will face Republican challenger Bobby Smith in the general election June 2.
Neither Harris nor Sansing could be reached for comment by press time.