Mound Bayou mayors embrace change
by Rory Doyle
Jun 29, 2013 | 4247 views | 0 0 comments | 117 117 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mound Bayou's recently elected Mayor Darryl Johnson wants the community to rest easy knowing he and former Mayor Kennedy V. Johnson have been working together closely since Darryl took office earlier this month.

In fact, the two Johnson mayors, unrelated, grew up with each other and have been friends for decades.

"I'm standing on this mayor's shoulders," said Darryl. "I'm definitely asking him to stick around. We've always worked on things together and I know that will continue."

The two have been meeting regularly to discuss ongoing city projects since Darryl took the reins after Kennedy's 12 years in the position.

Darryl has also served two terms on the Mound Bayou Board of Aldermen.

"He and I go way back and I'm still here to do whatever I can to help in this transition period," said Kennedy. "I'm going to help keep the town moving forward."

Darryl said Kennedy's commitment and support have already made a difference.

"There are some projects that Mayor Johnson started and he's going to pass on the information to make sure these come to fruition," said Darryl. "The community needs to know that they may have started under Mayor Johnson's administration but they will be implemented under mine."

Two of these projects are also supported at the county level due to their significance.

Darryl will be working closely with the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors and District 3 representative Preston Billings to oversee a new sewage utility district for the Isaac Daniels subdivision and also completely reconstruct Davis Street, which is funded by SAFETEA-LU dollars.

"Mayor (Darryl) Johnson is ready to come on board with the city and county to make sure these projects are completed," said Billings. "He has already done a great job during this transition, and the board looks forward to working in unison and cohesion with him.

"We need people like him to continue the outreach and send the message that small towns can flourish."

Darryl said he is ready to do just that — help Mound Bayou flourish and become a Mississippi town of distinction.

"I ran on the platform of tourism, commercialism and industrialism," said Darryl. "The timing is right and I want people everywhere to look at Mound Bayou and see progress."

He said another focus area would be a sustained effort to keep Mound Bayou clean.

"We want Mound Bayou to be presentable to the public. By Aug. 30, I want people to turn around, look at the city and be proud of it."

To quiet any rumors of contention between the Johnsons, both strongly confirmed their motives require teamwork.

"There is no tension that might have been rumored. He has given me the open door to contact him at anytime — and I have," said Darryl. "He helps me, I help him.

"I don't want to see a divided Mound Bayou. I'm the mayor of everybody. People may have voted for other candidates, but I'm the mayor of everybody."

As for Kennedy, he said he's a bit relieved to be retired from the political scene.

"I'm just going to sit back now and enjoy the kids, private life and my new business," said Kennedy.

He recently opened the popular J & W Smokehouse barbeque restaurant in town, which keeps him busy enough.

"It was a good ride as mayor," he said. "I enjoyed doing what I was doing and we got a lot done. I'm glad the people gave me the opportunity for so long.

"The people of Mound Bayou made their choice and I respect their choice. I look forward to continuing to see the town move ahead."