Hales re-elected Board of Supervisors president

Published 1:11 am Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The County Board of Supervisors unanimously re-elected Anthony Hales of District 1 as board president.

Patrick Lee, District 4, was elected vice president.

“I feel honored that the Board members feel pleased to ask me to serve in the capacity as board president,” said Hales. “I am humbled by their request and look forward to serving the board and the people.”

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This is Hales second year as board president.

The supervisors also re-appointed Adrian Lumpkin, Jr. as county administrator, Dan Manley as fire coordinator and Mike Mitchell as county road manager.

In other business, Sheriff David Allison asked the board to reconsider his request to add an animal control officer to his department, citing the time spent by deputies issuing citations for loose dogs as time being diverted from more important issues. “What is hurting more is the deputies having to respond to these calls,” said Sheriff Allison. “It’s eating up their time and calls are getting backed up.”

Allison said that for the first offense, the dog owner is usually given a warning, but subsequent violations result in a citation with a hefty fine attached. Under Pearl River County ordinances, animal owners who violate the law can receive a fine of between $25 to $1,000, and/or be sentenced for up to six months in jail. After court costs and justice fees, the initial $25 fine totals $224.50.

Hales agreed that Pearl River County was in need of an animal control officer, noting that in his own neighborhood, dogs running loose was an issue. “I know there certainly is a need for it in Poplarville,” said Hales. “I have a pretty good run of it in my neighborhood — the puppies are having puppies.”

He asked Lumpkin if there was somewhere in the budget they could find the money to open up such a position.

“There isn’t a lot to move around,” Lumpkin said, noting that things were tight financially.

Hales mused that the new position would cost around $60,000 a year, “after specs and the vehicle and all that.”

Sheriff Allison told board members that the animal control officer and the deputies would be “cross-trained” so the county would have 24 hour a day, seven days a week coverage.

Sandy Kane Smith, District 5, told board members that starting such a position involved more than just hiring someone. “We’d have to do something with the dogs too,” he said. “We have to come up with a plan.”

Hales asked Allison if something could be done at the jail if the officer had to pick up a dog. “We can fix something up at the jail, can’t we?” Hales asked. “There are a lot of inmates there who could probably help.”

The sheriff agreed, saying that he believed they could come up with some sort of plan.

After discussing whether or not they thought the Picayune Animal Shelter would help and deciding no, and what to do with vicious dogs, board members assured the sheriff that they would look into the matter and see what could be done to add the position. “Let’s let Mr. Joe [Montgomery] look at our leash laws and see what we can do,” said Hales, adding that he should have an answer for the sheriff by the end of the month.

In other business:

— Last month the Board of Supervisors appointed P.W. Polk to the Pearl River Community College Board of Directors.

— Re-employed David Earl Johnson as comptroller and bookkeeper.

— Re-employed John Sherman as inventory clerk.

— Re-employed Anita Sumrall as purchasing clerk and Gale Dedeaux as receiving clerk.

— Re-appointed Joe Montgomery as county attorney.