Pike County supervisors held off on joining opioid litigation Friday after one supervisor said he had negotiated lower rates with the attorney.
Attorney Frank Parker earlier proposed representing the county in multi-district litigation against the makers of opioid pain-relievers in exchange for 33% of the proceeds. Supervisor Robert Accardo said Friday he talked to Parker and got the fee down to 25%.
But board president Sam Hall upbraided Accardo for acting on his own.
“Anything like that needs to come before the board,” Hall said, getting agreement from Supervisor Tazwell Bowsky. “That’s good if we can do it, but let’s do it as a board.”
Accardo said he was bringing the matter before the board.
“I was not aware that I needed permission to try to save the county money, to be frank with you,” he said.
Hall suggested delaying the decision until Monday’s 8 a.m. meeting.
In other business, supervisors:
• Authorized the Pke County Bicentennial Committee to install awnings over two doors at the old Holmesville courthouse, which is a voting precinct. Committee spokesman Malcolm Allen said the committee is donating the copper awnings and will install them, but he asked for a county employee to be present. He said the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and architect Steve Cox approved the additions, which will protect the doors from rain and rot.
• Heard concerns from Allen on behalf of Friends of the Library that the front porch of the Magnolia Library is rotting. Last year supervisors asked board attorney Wayne Dowdy to draw up a deed enabling supervisors to give the library to the town, with a clause reverting ownership to the county if it ceases to be used as a library. Hall said he will speak with Magnolia Mayor Anthony Witherspoon about the situation.
• Accepted the 2017-18 audit from Tom Windham of Windham & Lacey, who said he issued a “clean opinion” with no findings or problems. Supervisors thanked county administrator Tami Dangerfield and chancery clerk Becky Buie.
• Noted that St. Mary of the Pines, which is in the process of closing, will still be a voting precinct in the March 10 primary elections.
• At Accardo’s request, approved a resolutiong honoring Julia Lee White on her 100th birthday.
• Heard concerns from resident Jack Martin that the stoplight at Highway 51 and Airport-Fernwood Road has not been adjusted despite his earlier complaint that it only allows 10 seconds for east-west traffic. Sheriff James Brumfield said he checked with the Mississippi Department of Transportation and was told the light changes times according to traffic volume.
• Approved paying Neel-Schaffer for January invoices totaling $13,796.
• Agreed to advertise for bids for lawn maintenance on county properties. The current contract ends in May.
• Signed off on the completion of the Gateway Road reseal project.
• Noted the resignation of Cory T. Reid from the road department and the hirings of Chandra Hughes and Trenton G. Coon at the jail.
• Renewed a rental agreement with Cintas for uniforms for road department and building and grounds employees at state contract prices.
• Approved juvenile drug court contracts with Ralph Coleman, Ben Gilbert and David Brewer. Gilbert will serve as public defender and Brewer as prosecutor for $250 a month each. Coleman will make $750 per month for supervising participants and other duties.
• Approved travel for Jason Maxwell to a five-day technology conference at Austin, Texas, in Sepatember.
• Noted approval of a $28,352 solid waste assistance grant from the Department of Environmental Quality.
• Approved an agreement with Atlas Geographic Data to upgrade agricultural information for the tax assessor’s office for $9,400.
• Agreed to apply for a $50,000 grant from the Department of Environmental Quality to hold a Household Hazardous Waste Day.
• Heard a request from Sheriff Brumfield to put a possible livestock ordinance on Monday’s agenda. “This week we had three accidents involving livestock,” he said. Yet there is no county ordinance governing them. Brumfield suggested surverying livestock owners “so when our deputies go out there they’ll have a number and know who to call.”