Greenville Mayor Chuck Jordan has told the Mississippi Business Journal he is resigning office after just nine months having learned he has advanced-stage pancreatic cancer.
Tupelo Mayor Jack Reed Jr. also shared the news at his city council meeting Tuesday, which was tweeted by Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reporter Emily LeCoz.
Jordan made an official announcement at 8:30 Wednesday morning at City Hall in Greenville.
The retired Planter’s Bank president, who spent 30 years in the banking industry, took over last December after a surprising landslide victory in which the banker-turned-politician took more than 64 percent of the vote.
“It’s not a great day for me obviously, but we will take what happens and move forward,” Jordan said Tuesday morning as he prepared to make official his plans to city leaders. “The best laid plans don’t always work out, but I am convinced the people of Greenville will make good on all of the progress we have made.”
Jordan has been a shot in the arm for Greenville, which had fallen on hard economic times in the last 40 years.
He had brought a sense of hope and pride that had not been evident in recent memory.
Jordan’s resignation will take effect Sunday and vice-mayor Carolyn Weathers will take over for 30 days until a special election.
“Carolyn is who I want to take over and continue what we have started,” Jordan said. “We have 25-30 projects going right now and (Weathers) is the right person to see these through.”
Jordan ran his campaign on a “Five Point Plan to Fix Greenville.” The planks were crime reduction, job creation, education accountability, infrastructure improvements and clean up.
It seems Jordan was on his way to accomplishing most of what he started, with many properties in downtown Greenville being renovated as mix-used facilities. That comes on the heels of the creation of Stein Mart Square, which re-developed a once overlooked corner into a location the mayor says will be the center of community activity as downtown continues to grow.
Other projects in the works include the upcoming Delta Hot Tamale Festival after Jordan had deftly proclaimed Greenville “The Hot Tamale Capital of the World.”
Also, just announced this week is the upcoming Mississippi River Marathon in February, which will be used as a fundraiser for Teach For America but also as a tourism event for Greenville and the entire Mississippi Delta.
On the jobs front, Jordan had been working on a five-year tax abatement to local businesses to spur investment, a city-wide internship program with the aim of bringing the city’s college students back home to work and a state-backed Delta Opportunity Zone, similar to the post-Hurricane Katrina Gulf Opportunity Zone, to offer incentives to businesses looking to locate in the Delta.
And he was headlong into a project with Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann to return blighted properties to the tax rolls. According to Jordan, nearly 1,000 residences in Greenville are owned by the state due to unpaid taxes. Several hundred of these properties have already been deeded over to the city and back on the tax rolls.
Otherwise, Jordan says after handing over the keys this weekend, he intends to “live his life to the fullest and enjoy being with his family and friends.”