Hattiesburg, Mississippi – On Wednesday, February 8, Mayor Toby Barker, city staff and tourism partners spent the day with Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs and leadership counterparts to share best practices for providing residents with services and quality of place opportunities.
The Vicksburg group consisted of leadership from Flaggs’ office and his departments across Parks and Recreation, Human Resources, IT, Police, Fire and Visit Vicksburg.
After an initial welcome and photo with Barker, the group was broken into three groups to discuss operational practices and ideas across a variety of topics and key buildings that help amplified those conversations — Administration/IT/Human Resources at City Hall, Event-Planning with Partners & Logistics at the Historic Hattiesburg Saenger Theater and Public Safety at the new Public Safety Complex at the corner of Edwards Street and Hall Avenue.
“This visit was a great opportunity to share best practices across our two cities,” said Flaggs. “Both I and Mayor Barker want to continue to push the envelope on what it means to be a high-achieving and high-performing city in the State of Mississippi – for our residents and those who provide services to them. We’re grateful for the opportunity to drive over and learn from our counterparts in the Hub City.”
This visit was something both mayors sought to accomplish in 2022, but was pushed back due to the busy holiday season. Barker and Flaggs, former legislative colleagues and now-mayors, have both championed transparent city government. They both also believe that making strides to improve the quality of life for residents takes thinking bigger and leaning on best practices where necessary.
“At face value – this visit was about sharing some of our city’s best practices with our counterparts in Vicksburg, showcasing the departments and partners who help make our city thrive,” said Barker. “But more than that, today was about our ability to help make Mississippi better. I believe strong neighborhoods make strong cities, and strong cities make strong states. Sharing and collaborating on what has worked for us doesn’t make us less competitive. It helps us elevate the playing field.”
The morning of breakout sessions and facility tours were followed by an afternoon hosted by VisitHATTIESBURG, who directed the visitors through lunch, a presentation about Quality of Place, walking tours through the city’s Public Art Trail, a visit to the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum and a stop at a local shop.