City officials attend MML conference

From Press, Staff Reports


Five city officials traveled to Biloxi last week for the Mississippi Municipal League’s 82nd annual conference.

The conference, which was July 15-17 at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum & Convention Center, was themed “Strong Cities: Putting the Pieces Together. It attracted about 1,500 municipal elected officials, municipal employees, state agency representatives, legislators and exhibitors.

Eupora Mayor Dan Burchfield attended along with four members of the Board of Aldermen: Jerry Gary, Robert Gibbs, Howard Rumore and Junior Shaw.

“It ended up being a very successful conference,” Burchfield said. “I’m very proud of the four aldermen who went.”

Many state and federal agencies provided speakers for the educational session, including the attorney general’s office, state auditor’s office, Mississippi Development Authority, Mississippi Planning and Development Districts, and Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

Topics included state law updates, grant writing, community health initiatives, beautification and preservation, infrastructure planning, municipal liability issues, social media, and community and economic development.

“We (were) excited to be able to offer education and resources specifically crafted to help these new leaders become more knowledgeable and effective public officials,” MML Executive Director Shari Veazey said of the many newly elected officials attending the conference.

“I thought it was extremely beneficial,” Burchfield said. “All the new aldermen (who attended) were able to take the required basic courses in municipal government and finance, and I was able to take a lot of good economic development courses.”

The conference opened July 16 with a keynote address from cartoonist and writer Marshall Ramsey. Other conference highlights included the election of the MML 2013-14 slate of officers; the presentation of the 2013 Municipal Excellence Awards; induction ceremonies for the 2013 Municipal Hall of Fame and a trade show showcasing more than 200 businesses, state agencies and other organizations.

Established in 1931, MML represents 289 city, town and village governments in Mississippi. The mission of the MML is helping cities and towns excel through training, lobbying at the state and federal level, and providing resources and networking opportunities with state, federal and private entities.