Toby Barker has started off his second term as Hattiesburg’s mayor by nominating his appointments for three key members of his administration: city clerk Kermas Eaton, city attorney Randy Pope and chief administrative officer Ann Jones.
The three nominations will be brought to Hattiesburg City Council members for review and approval at the July 6 council meeting. Because city offices were closed on July 5 for the Independence Day holiday, council will meet only one day that week, rather than the usual two.
“Every facet of progress over the course of my first term started with having a strong administrative foundation,” said Barker, who was inaugurated on June 29 for his second term as Hattiesburg’s 35thmayor. “That effort began with my appointments of Kermas, Randy and Ann.
“Their experience and work ethic, coupled with a genuine and thoughtful approach to work, brought a high standard of excellence to the City of Hattiesburg. Our residents have been well-served during their tenures, and I look forward to seeing that spirit continue across the next four years.”
As city clerk, Eaton is responsible for general operation of the city and specializes in administrative oversight with human resources, accounting, informational technology and the office of clerks. Eaton also oversees municipal elections, including those for mayor and city council.
Eaton, who is from Hattiesburg, has worked in an administrative role for the City of Hattiesburg for 15 years, including serving as a deputy clerk for nine years and as city clerk for the last six years. He graduated from Hattiesburg High School and is currently working to obtain his bachelor’s degree at the University of Southern Mississippi.
“There is no greater challenge, and there is no greater honor than to be in public service for the greatest citizens in the world right here in the City of Hattiesburg,” Eaton said. “I love what I do, who I do it for and who I get to do it with.”
Pope is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi; as city attorney, he provides legal counsel for the mayor and Hattiesburg City Council. While at USM, he was president of the Sophomore Class, Omicron Delta Kappa and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. He also was a member of the Student Senate and Kappa Sigma fraternity.
He was a founding member of the Hattiesburg Area Habitat for Humanity, and a member of the inaugural class of the Area Development Partnership’s Leaders for a new Century.
After finishing law school, he returned to the Hub City in 1979 and began practicing law at Pope and Pope, P.A. with his later father Moran Pope, who served as mayor of Hattiesburg. He was appointed to the city attorney position in 2017 when Barker was elected mayor.
“It’s been a remarkable four years for me working with Mayor Barker and the City Council, and I’m honored to be asked to continue serving,” Pope said. “I’ve appreciated the way the mayor and council have leaned on me for legal advice, listened and acted on it.
“The City of Hattiesburg has visionary leadership right now and I look forward to continuing working with these talented men and women.”
Jones has 27 years of experience with the City of Hattiesburg, including two years in public services, 21 year in Parks in Recreation and four as chief administrative officer. In the Parks and Recreation Department, she was responsible for 65 employees, as well as planning and budgetary needs of the department, among other duties. In addition, she initiated and maintained a recycling program for the city.
Jones earned a bachelor’s degree from William Carey University in 2019 and an associate’s degree in business from Pearl River Community College in 1994.
“I’ve spent my entire career with the City of Hattiesburg, and the last four years have provided the most encouraging, insightful experience yet,” Jones said. “Every day I get to interact with the incredible employees who are the hands and feet of our organization, while tackling the details for key projects and initiatives.
“It’s been a fulfilling opportunity to serve in this capacity, and I look forward to continuing in this role under Mayor Barker’s vision and leadership.”