Tuesday, December 22, 2015

MEMA Director retiring

Governor and First Consul Phil Bryant issued the following press release:

Governor Bryant Names Lee Smithson as MEMA Executive Director
Robert Latham Retiring

JACKSON–Gov. Phil Bryant has named Col. Lee Smithson as incoming Executive Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). Current MEMA Executive Director Robert Latham is retiring effective Jan. 31 and Col. Smithson will begin on Feb. 1. He is currently Director of Military Support for the Mississippi National Guard and has been in that role since April 2005.

Latham was appointed Executive Director of MEMA by Gov. Bryant on Jan. 10, 2012, a position he previously held under Govs. Ronnie Musgrove and Haley Barbour from Feb. 2000 through June 2006.

“Robert Latham has meant a great deal to the State of Mississippi during his time at MEMA that spans back almost 15 years.  He has led Mississippi through countless difficult times such as Hurricane Katrina, multiple tornado outbreaks, and numerous other events,” Gov. Bryant said.  “I thank him for his unwavering service to the people of Mississippi and wish him well in retirement.”

“Helping this state become better prepared is an accomplishment I will always be proud of, but the most rewarding experiences for me have been helping people who have lost everything in a disaster and offering hope for their future,” Latham said. “I will be forever grateful for the opportunities I have had in the more than ten years as MEMA Executive Director.”

Col. Smithson has served as Director of Military Support for the Mississippi National Guard during Hurricanes Katrina, Gustav, Ike and Isaac, the Mississippi River Flood of 2011, multiple tornado outbreaks, and the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill in 2010.

“I am pleased to appoint Col. Smithson to MEMA Executive Director and know his extensive, direct experience in disaster related events suits him well to take over and lead,” Gov. Bryant said. “He has a wealth of operations knowledge from his time at the Mississippi National Guard where he has worked closely with MEMA during many disasters and this will allow him to seamlessly transition into the role.”

"I am extremely honored that Governor Bryant has selected me for this position. For over a decade, I've focused my efforts as an officer in the Mississippi National Guard on homeland security and disaster operations,” Col. Smithson said. “I worked side by side with MEMA during Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac, the Smithville, Louisville and Tupelo tornados, the Deep Water Horizon oil spill and the flood of 2011. MEMA is renowned for its expertise in disaster response operations and the employees are some of the best in our nation when a disaster occurs. I look forward to the opportunity to serve the people of Mississippi as the MEMA Executive Director." 

Col. Smithson has also held numerous command and staff positions during his thirty-one year career including: commander of an M-1 tank company in the Federal Republic of Germany, Infantry Battalion Executive Officer with duty in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Commander and First Cavalry Division Rear Operations Center with duty in Baghdad, Iraq.

He has received numerous awards and decorations including the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal, the Coast Guard Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the NATO Medal and the Mississippi Magnolia Cross, which is the state’s highest military award. He also has the Combat Action Badge.

Col. Smithson’s military education includes the Armor Officer Basic and Advance Courses, Combined Arms Services Staff School, Command and General Staff Officer’s Course and the U.S. Army War College.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Tulane University, a Master of Strategic Studies Degree from the U.S. Army War College and a Master of Homeland Security Degree from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Col. Smithson is married to the former Elizabeth Black of Jackson and they have two children.


Anonymous said...

Robert Latham served three governors as Director of MEMA and in the process transformed MEMA, local EMA and other state agencies disaster preparedness, response and recovery from the old civil defense environment to current day capabilities. Latham is an prifessional manager and will be missed.

Selection Committee said...

That job, once vacant, is quite the political plumb. Will Robert Graham be on the short list?

2016 Hottest Reporter Poll

Suscribe to latest on JJ.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel

Who is the hottest reporter?


Who is the Hottest Reporter in Jackson?

Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS