Article Comment 

Sanders: Rift led to resignation

 

Jason Browne

 

District 1 Supervisor Harry Sanders says a deep political rift led him to unexpectedly resign his seat at the head of the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors Monday. 

 

Sanders, who served as board president since January 2004, said his decision to resign the presidency had nothing to do with a 3-2 vote to spend $2 million on road repairs, which he and District 3 Supervisor John Holliman voted against immediately preceding his announcement at the end of Monday''s meeting. 

 

Rather, Sanders said the vote was a fitting precursor to the announcement, which he had already written and planned to deliver. 

 

"It was not a knee-jerk reaction. The vote was just another sign of me losing the support of the majority of the board," he said. 

 

The rift in the board, according to Sanders, has become so severe that, outside of the boardroom, he is no longer on speaking terms with District 2 Supervisor Frank Ferguson or District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks. 

 

Ferguson, the board''s vice president, will assume the president''s duties until a new president is elected. He acknowledges being at odds with Sanders, but says he respects Sanders'' position. 

 

"I respect every member, including Harry and his position. But this thing has gotten into a personal vendetta," said Ferguson. "I think Harry is a very capable president and I did not want this to happen. I do not want to be president." 

 

Sanders says Ferguson and Brooks have become disruptive in meetings. 

 

"When I''m at the head of the table and don''t have the respect of the board, something''s wrong. I don''t have to put up with that when they interrupt and won''t follow the rules of order," said Sanders. 

 

He believes Ferguson and Brooks wanted to vote him out as board president, but lacked the four votes necessary to unseat him. Sanders'' vote often aligns with Holliman, while Brooks and Ferguson align with District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith. 

 

"It''s hard to conduct business that way," said Sanders. "There''s no reason for me to be up there when somebody else wants it." 

 

Ferguson insists he''s never voted based on alliances or a personal agenda. 

 

"I''m not voting with anybody. I''m voting for what I think is best," he said. 

 

The supervisors are uncertain how Sanders'' resignation of his board presidency will effect the 3-2 voting dynamic. 

 

"I really don''t think it will change things," said Holliman. "It will just be a matter of (Sanders) moving from the president to the side of the table. I don''t think it will affect a lot on board actions." 

 

Sanders says he won''t change his voting patterns in the future. 

 

"I''ve been there 10 years and voted the same way for 10 years. I''m not going to vote any different than I''ve always voted," he said. 

 

And that includes his opposition to borrowing $2 million for roads. 

 

Smith introduced the road issue at Monday''s meeting, moving that the board fund repairs for damaged county roads. In seconding the motion, Brooks amended it to authorize County Administrator Ralph Billingsley to seek $2 million in loans from local banks or to borrow from Lowndes County funds to repair the roads already specified on a list held by Road Manager Ronnie Burns. 

 

Earlier in the meeting, the board heard from Kevin Forrester, information technology specialist for the Lowndes County Sheriff''s Office, about the need for new software and technical support for the county''s E-911 equipment. 

 

The current system has been in place since 2006 and Forrester says technical support sometimes takes up to 72 hours to return a call for assistance. 

 

"You get what you pay for, and the service agreement was free," said Forrester. 

 

He recommended the county purchase new software and technical support from PTS Solutions, the company which provides computer software and services to both the Columbus Police Department and LCSO. 

 

The estimated cost for the upgrades was $141,000, with a required one-third down payment. 

 

Supervisors asked if the purchase could be postponed until October because money for a software purchase is not budgeted. They tabled the issue until the board''s March 15 meeting. 

 

In other business the board: 

 

    Voted to enter a two-year fixed-base operator agreement with Tri-South Aviation to operate the Lowndes County Airport. County Administrator Ralph Billingsley estimates the county''s share of the split with the City of Columbus will be $10,000 per year. 

     

    Agreed to name a new Lowndes County representative to the East Mississippi Community College at its April meeting to replace Tim Heard. 

     

    Voted to include a list of county equipment in a Mississippi Emergency Management Agency database. 

     

    Adopted a resolution in recognition of National County Government Month in April. 

     

    Adopted a resolution recognizing the Full Gospel State Conference March 17-19.

 

 

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Reader Comments

Article Comment j commented at 3/2/2010 12:01:00 PM:

WHEN WILL THESE OLD FARTS RETIRE AND LET THE YOUNGER GENARATION RULE

 

Article Comment AB commented at 3/2/2010 1:10:00 PM:

J, when we learn to spell "generation" properly. Thus, the question answers itself.

 

Article Comment MK commented at 3/2/2010 1:41:00 PM:

SINCE WHEN HAS LEROY "BECOME" DISRUPTIVE? HE HAS BEEN THAT WAY SINCE HE HAS BEEN ON THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS. HE JUST PROVES THE OLD SAYING
THAT YOU CAN PUT A NICE SUIT ON AN IDIOT, BUT THEN ALL YOU HAVE IS AN IDIOT WITH A NICE SUIT THAT NO ONE ELSE WILL EVER WEAR.

 

Article Comment John commented at 3/2/2010 2:18:00 PM:

This town is never going to get any better with Leroy Brooks in any kind of leadership position.

 

Article Comment chill commented at 3/2/2010 2:25:00 PM:

You can't borrow your way to properity!. Lowndes County is wasting more money than you can possibly imagine. Millions of $$ on a new soccer complex, Millions on a new health department, hundreds of thousands of $$ to "upgrade" neighborhood parks that the ones using them TORE UP!!!......then you have to BORROW money to fix the dang roads?????.....not to mention the talk of spending MILLIONS on new county offices.......how absurd! The "servants of the people" are looking more and more like they are building a kingdom for themselves.......hmmmmm...of course they have a good example being set in the "White House" at this time.
All I can say is.....if you want to see a complete disaster....then watch them put the "FOX (brooks) in charge of the hen house". At least Mr. Sanders is a proven, successful businessman. Hopefully Mr. Holliman will get the call, again a successful businessman.

 

Article Comment chill commented at 3/2/2010 2:26:00 PM:

I meant prosperity.....oops

 

Article Comment Avatar commented at 3/2/2010 2:55:00 PM:

Hey J,
They will probably retire when the "younger genAration" can learn to spell generation!

 

Article Comment Slate commented at 3/2/2010 6:00:00 PM:

Sanders is still a supervisor, there will be little or no change to be noticed, to be president of the BOS means nothing. The county is awash in money due to the tremendous industrial expansion of the last five years and the overall good stewardship of the BOS.

 

Article Comment marv commented at 3/2/2010 7:52:00 PM:

PLEASE ! EVERYBODY TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND LET THIS WHOLE THING TAKE IT's COURSE. WE HAVE MEN ON THIS BOARD THAT WANT TO DO WHAT's BEST FOR THE COUNTY AND I THINK THEY WILL WORK IT OUT FOR THE BEST. NO ONE KNOWS THE WHOLE STORY (AND NEVER WILL). WE NEED TO LET EACH SUPERVISOR KNOW THAT WE NEED TO GET BACK ON TRACK AND DO WHAT IS BEST FOR THE COUNTY. IT MAY BE TIME TO ELECT A LADY TO THE BOARD. A CHANGE OF PACE WOULD BE A BREATH OF FRESH AIR. IF YOU WILL CALL YOUR SUPERVISOR AND LET HIM KNOW THIS I THINK IT WOULD HELP. GOD BLESS LOWNDES COUNTY.

 

Article Comment DJ commented at 3/2/2010 9:26:00 PM:

Just count your blessings you don't live in West Point. Now there is a pot full of problems you don't want. Lots of idiots in suits. Expensive ones that the people have paid for.

 

Article Comment T Time commented at 3/3/2010 10:52:00 AM:

MY COMMENTS HAVE MORE VALUE IF I LEAVE CAPS LOCK ON!

 

Article Comment John commented at 3/3/2010 10:55:00 AM:

Again, the main problem is LeRoy Brooks. He has and always will be THE PROBLEM!!!

 

Article Comment Whew!! commented at 3/3/2010 2:40:00 PM:

This whole part of the state of MS is a mess! I've never seen so much in-fighting, name calling, and bad blood. Wow! I'm just glad I don't call this area "home". I'd be so ashamed. My mom always taught me that it doesn't matter who "got wrong" first. When I do wrong with someone else I'm just as bad as they are. As a transplant to this area, I think pretty much everybody is is off course. Do any elected officials in the Golden Triangle do their jobs for the good of the people who elected them? Whew! Unreal.

 

Article Comment streetsweeper commented at 3/3/2010 6:39:00 PM:

DJ....ur so right my man..west point is over-run with the most crooked..backstabbing..bunch of Idiots in suits..that we paid for..than you could have ever thought of. I see everyday, the waste west point has...men riding in city trucks to pick up kids at school..4 or 5 city workers taking 3 hour lunches..flirting with the girls outside of the high school..not to mention all those city big shots in city cars shopping in columbus..during the day. As far as servets of the people..Ah get real..the only people they serve are themselves..or thier rich friends..west point has always been this way, and it's never gonna change..still a little crooked back-wood southern hick town...and yes...I live Here. it sux, but till the jobs come back..we dont have crap to do be complain..no use going to Navi_star..they ONLY HIRE People that worked at Bryan Foods..talk about discrimination..West point sux the Hind teat of the Devil herself...you too Scott Ross..Do this city some good..go drown urself in the Tibbee Creek

 

Article Comment DJ commented at 3/3/2010 9:34:00 PM:

Don't worry streetsweeper Ross will not run again but when he leaves, I believe this town will be so far down it will never get back up. It is time for change but it will only come when the authorities in Jackson come in here and take a good close look. If not, then it will just be another broke down nothing town. People are leaving and there goes the economy. Such as it is. Hang in there.

 

Article Comment JC commented at 3/4/2010 7:54:00 AM:

"This whole part of the state of MS is a mess! I've never seen so much in-fighting, name calling, and bad blood. Wow!"

But we have such nice, smooth roads with fabulous drainage.

 

Article Comment ODB commented at 3/5/2010 1:56:00 PM:

Make the rocks disappear, y'all.

 

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