Mayor Chuck Espy wanted to leave the decision of his Clarksdale Public Utilities board appointment in the hands of the people and James Hicks saw his people show up at the polls Tuesday.
Hicks, who serves as CPU board chairman, received the most support with 340 votes from the 481 ballots cast. Freddie Davis came in second with 84 votes followed by Anna Jones with 57 votes. All three candidates were present for the vote count.
Espy will recommend reappointing Hicks for another five-year term on the CPU board at the City Board meeting Monday. Hicks, who was most recently appointed to the CPU board by former mayor Bill Luckett, has served for a combined 15 years.
“This is a historical evening in Clarksdale,” said Espy after the count. “The people were given the opportunity to elect the mayor’s appointee to the CPU board.”
Hicks received well more than half of the votes. However, there would not have been a runoff even if all candidates earned fewer than 50 percent of the votes.
Espy and CPU general manager Curtis Boschert said the only requirements for the board are being a city resident and qualified voter.
After the win, Hicks he was grateful for the show of support.
“I don’t feel any different about anything,” Hicks said. “I could have lost just as easily as I won. Over the years I tried to earn the respect of the people, tried to do what I can.
“I want the customers to be treated right and fair” he added. “I want the employees to feel good about coming to work.”
Espy is confident the commissioners will approve his recommendation to appoint Hicks.
“That (not approving the appointment of Hicks) would be setting a precedent,” Espy said. “Each member on the board has a right to bring forward their individual person who they see fit to serve on the board. That is why, as mayor, I did not try to change the rules or try to set a new paradigm in saying that CPU needs to be an elected board.”