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Supervisors’ March 21st meeting: tip of the iceberg

Union County Courthouse

On March 14, 2016, the Monday morning meeting of the Union County Board of Supervisors lasted eight minutes. Monday morning this week, March 21st,  they finished their business in five minutes.

And five minutes was plenty of time.

Members of Mississippi Boards of Supervisors typically put in considerably more than 40 hours each week on the job, but very little of their work is done during their official meetings. Supervisors are among the most accessible public officials in Union County and elsewhere in Mississippi. Among other things, they spend time every day in what might be called “committee work” in some other legislative bodies. Supervisors meet daily with one another and with many of their constituents.

Constituent meetings may occur at the courthouse and the grounds surrounding it; in local cafes and bank lobbies and on public sidewalks or standing beside a country road. And, not infrequently, unscheduled meetings with constituents occur in the supervisor’s front yard or on his home telephone at night and on weekends.

It’s simple: The constituent has concerns with roads or garbage service or the way the courthouse is maintained or dozens of other things that fall in the county board’s bailiwick, so he drives up to the supervisor’s house or calls whenever it pleases him, and business is conducted. The constituent is nearly always sober when these impromptu meetings occur, and things go better than when, on those relatively rare occasions, when the constituent has been in his cups and decides his grievance can’t wait until morning.

Uniquely, Mississippi Boards of Supervisors serve as both the legislative and administrative bodies for county, so the job is a sort of twofer.

The Monday morning meetings serve mainly to affirm decisions already made, although any citizen  can get on the official agenda any time by making the request by noon Friday prior to the Monday morning meeting.

In this week’s meeting…

–The board approved acquiring health insurance for county employees from Humana Insurance. Coverage has previously been with United Health Care. The board said the county would save about $30,000 per year by making the change, which takes effect April 1st.

–The board agreed to delete two old garbage trucks and a 2004 Ford SUV, formerly used by the Sheriff’s Office, from the county inventory.

–Approved payment of travel expense for a Tupelo training meeting for some 911 personnel.

It was not an agenda item, but Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards delivered a check for $203,000, payable to the county. The $203,000 flowing into county coffers was from the sale of property, which had been used in the commission of crimes and seized by the Sheriff’s Office during the course of its work. Such assets are forfeited by court order upon the conviction of the defendants, who used the property during the commission of felonies.

The Union County Board of Supervisors will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 28th.

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