March 6, 2018 11:18:46 AM
The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors is officially seeking applicants for its empty board attorney post.
Supervisors authorized advertising for the position at Monday's meeting, which was its first since the passing of Jack Brown.
Brown, 72, had served as the board's attorney since 2000. He died Feb. 24.
The county will accept applications until the end of business on March 16,and hold interviews at 9 a.m. March 19.
The decision came at the end of Monday's board meeting, on a 3-0 vote with District 1 Supervisor John Montgomery, District 3 Supervisor Marvell Howard and District 5 Supervisor Joe Williams voting in favor.
Board President Orlando Trainer and District 4 Supervisor Bricklee Miller were absent from Monday's meeting to attend a conference elsewhere.
Montgomery told The Dispatch the board is moving about as quickly as it can to find a new attorney.
"We really need to get someone as quick as possible," Montgomery said. "I would like to have gotten someone quicker, but that's as quick as is feasible, the 19th. I look forward to getting this taken care of. That way we can stay within the legal limits of the law."
Supervisor floated the idea of holding a special-call meeting on Thursday to consider picking an attorney but settled instead on the interviews at the next meeting.
"We can't keep going on without legal representation," Howard said.
So far, two applicants have submitted letters of interest to the county. Montgomery confirmed that Starkville attorneys Chad Montgomery and Rob Roberson have applied for the position. Roberson also serves as the Republican representative of District 43, which includes Oktibbeha and Winston counties, in the Mississippi House of Representatives.
"I hear that others are wanting to put in," Montgomery said. "Those are the two official applicants who have put in for it so far. I think we'll have a large number of applicants to choose from."
Howard said the board needs to move quickly, but select the next attorney carefully.
"Attorney Brown was very instrumental in leading the board in the right direction when it came to legal matters," he said. "Right now we're sort of like a fish out of water trying to handle issues that require attorney feedback. We're trying to move as quickly as possible, but at the same time trying to appoint the right attorney to represent the board in legal matters."
For the supervisors, selecting an attorney quickly will be especially important as they move forward in the process of determining if the county will change its waste service provider. The board took up the matter on Feb. 19, but delayed a decision because Brown wasn't present at that meeting. They're next scheduled to consider the matter again on March 19.
In the time since the first meeting, Golden Triangle Waste Services, which currently provides garbage disposal to the county, has requested that supervisors meet with representatives of its board before deciding on whether the county will use another waste service provider.
Montgomery said whichever firm the board selects will have to come in ready to work, as supervisors tackle the garbage issue.
"Whoever we get is going to have to hit the ground running," he said. "We've got that issue coming up in the immediate future with the garbage, and we need legal protection there."
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