JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Veterans Affairs Board is being run by an interim leader as the executive director and his chief of staff are both resigning.
The agency said in news release Friday that executive director Stacey Pickering decided to retire from government service and chief of staff Melissa Wade “will pursue other endeavors outside of MSVA.”
Pickering was a Republican state senator from Jones County for one term before becoming state auditor in 2008. He resigned from that statewide elected position in 2018 to lead the Veterans Affairs Board. Pickering has served in the Mississippi Air National Guard.
The VA Board said Pickering and Wade are both resigning as of July 11 “and are available to assist the Agency during its transition.” By Monday, both of their photos were gone from the VA website, which listed the deputy executive director, Mark Smith, as the interim executive director.
The VA Board last week refused to confirm Pickering’s status with the agency. At the time, Pickering told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal that he had not resigned.
Two days later, House Military Affairs Chairman Lester “Bubba” Carpenter, a Republican from Burnsville, told the newspaper that a member of the VA Board informed him both Pickering and Wade had stepped down.
“The board thanks both Director Pickering and Mrs. Wade for their service to Mississippi’s 187,000 Veterans and their families over the last four and three years, respectively,” James Garner, the chairman of the veterans affairs board, said in the agency's news release. “We want to assure our veterans and their families that our mission will continue.”