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Percy Bland (2013)
|Mayor of Meridian, Mississippi|
|Assumed office |
|Preceded by||Cheri Barry|
|Born||September 23, 1970|
Crystal Springs, Mississippi, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Deidre Bland (m. Aug 15, 1999)|
Bland was born in Crystal Springs, Mississippi on September 23, 1970. He grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. He attended St. Joseph High School. He earned a B.S. in Chemistry at Xavier University of New Orleans. He played collegiate basketball. Bland earned a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) degree at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Bland went to work for the Fulton County Health Department in Atlanta, Georgia. There he was an epidemiologist in the Tuberculosis Control Department. Bland met his wife Deidre in Atlanta. They married on August 15, 1999. Deidre Bland is a teacher at Ross Collins in the Meridian Public School District. Bland returned to Mississippi and became the Human Resources Director and Marketing Director with the G.A. Carmichael Family Health Center. Bland moved to Meridian to run a State Farm Insurance Agency.
In 2007, Bland was co-chair to pass a bond issue for the first major renovations and improvements to Meridian’s public schools in more than 20 years. The bond issue was for $19.5 million. The bond issue passed on March 27, 2007 with 71.3%. Bland also helped establish the Magnolia Youth Sports Association. He still runs his own Summer Basketball Camp. Bland helped establish the First Tee Golf Program in Meridian, the first in the state, a golf program aimed at improving the quality of life of primarily inner-city children.
Mayor of Meridian
On June 4, 2013, Bland won the election for mayor of Meridian by 54% of the vote. Before he took office, he formed a team from the community to study five issues and make recommendations about how to move improve those areas in Meridian. The areas are education, community development, public safety, infrastructure and city partnerships. Bland was sworn in as the first African-American mayor of the city of Meridian on July 1, 2013.
During his first Meridian City Council meeting as mayor, on July 2, 2014, Bland proposed his livable wage policy. He proposed a $9 an hour minimum salary for all city employees. That was to be funded by money saved through cuts to other areas of the municipal budget. Bland's livable wage proposal became city policy when the city council passed the municipal budget on September 17, 2013.
Bland and several local businesses began recognizing an outstanding teacher or staff member from two MPSD schools a month during the 2013-14 school year. Improvements to public safety were made to the newly annexed part of Meridian. A new warning siren was put at the fire station in that area. Meridian youth sports were brought together through one program in the Meridian Parks and Recreation Department. The program brought in more mentors, more coaches, and more churches as partners for the City of Meridian to work with youth through athletics. In May 2014, the City of Meridian pledged $750,000 to help build a new community center.
In May 2014, the City of Meridian launched a series of new programs to help fight crime in the city. These included a new gang task force, a new team of Meridian police officers and citizens to help with tips on crime, and penalizing parents when their children do not comply with the Mississippi Compulsory School Attendance Law.
- "404 - City of Meridian". https://www.meridianms.org/404/.
- reports, from staff. "Campaign for Meridian’s school bond issue in full swing". https://www.meridianstar.com/news/local_news/campaign-for-meridian-s-school-bond-issue-in-full-swing/article_f42ada35-21ef-5341-9c46-4f9dbc2c7875.html.
- WTOK. "Meridian School Bond Election". https://www.wtok.com/home/headlines/6737081.html.
- WTOK. "Bland Defeats Barry in Meridian Mayoral Race". https://www.wtok.com/home/headlines/Bland-Defeats-Barry-in-Meridian-Mayoral-Race-210183571.html.
- Star, Terri Ferguson Smith / tsmith@themeridianstar comThe Meridian. "NEW MAYOR". https://www.meridianstar.com/news/local_news/new-mayor/article_4185ce47-1164-5afd-9ffd-c3dacae08445.html.
- WTOK. "Bland Plans Blueprint for the Future". https://www.wtok.com/home/headlines/Bland-Releases-Blueprint-for-the-Future-211472391.html.
- Williams, Andrea. "Mayor, Council Sworn In". https://www.wtok.com/home/headlines/Mayor-Council-Sworn-In-213884471.html.
- Lachlan McIntosh (1 July 2013). "Percy Bland swearing-in as Meridian Mayor.". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMLaKQFFbs8#t=22.
- Barnette, Candace. "Meridian City Council Passes 2014 Budget". https://www.wtok.com/home/headlines/Meridian-City-Council-Passes-2014-Budget-224176901.html.
- Star, Terri Ferguson Smith / tsmith@themeridianstar comThe Meridian. "Council approves employee pay raises, cuts some top salaries". https://www.meridianstar.com/news/local_news/council-approves-employee-pay-raises-cuts-some-top-salaries/article_9a7ae12f-ef94-5f0c-b5f3-38744e263681.html.
- "SCHOOLinSITES". http://meridianhigh.ms.mds.schoolinsites.com/?PageName=LatestNews&Section=DistrictNews&ItemID=56431&ISrc=District&Itype=News&iFrom=D&SID=683.
- Star, Terri Ferguson Smith / tsmith@themeridianstar comThe Meridian. "City pledges $750,000 for grant Money will fund new community center". https://www.meridianstar.com/news/local_news/city-pledges-for-grant-money-will-fund-new-community-center/article_dbb8fdd7-f1f7-57bb-b8c4-02c57d61f4a6.html.
- Williams, Andrea. "MPD Gang Task Force Launched". https://www.wtok.com/home/headlines/MPD-Gang-Task-Force-Launched-258964121.html.
- Barnette, Candace. "MPD and Citizens Team Up to Fight Gangs". https://www.wtok.com/home/headlines/MPD-and-Citizens-Team-Up-to-Fight-Gangs-259294301.html.