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Still no decision on who will head training center under city's watch

By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Aug. 21, 2003
Meridian will regain full control next month of the emergency training center on Sand Flat Road and an announcement could be made in the coming weeks about who will head it.
Henson's comments came two months after city councilmen voted to terminate Three I Public Safety Inc.'s lease with the training center effective in mid-August.
Three I, a nonprofit organization, had operated the training center since 2001. The center has helped prepare firefighters, law officers and others to handle emergency situations.
In June, Mayor John Robert Smith said he and the city council would take 60 days to determine who will run the training center when the city regained control of the complex.
But when the city attorney formally notified Three I of the termination of its lease, officials were given until Sept. 30 to vacate the complex. That also delayed the naming of a new director by the city.
Meridian Fire Chief H.C. "Bunky" Partridge, who spearheaded development of the project in the mid-1990s, said two months ago he would like to be considered to head the center under the city's supervision.
Earlier this year, Partridge decided to stop being paid by Three I for his role in running the center part of an apparent settlement with the Mississippi Ethics Commission over alleged ethics violations.
Partridge said Wednesday that he has not yet been formally asked to become involved with the center again.
The mayor was unavailable for comment.
Susan Killen, facilities manager of Three I, said she is currently in contract negotiations with two nearby municipalities and county governments about a joint effort to provide and house a new center.