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Mileage Pay Sparks Debate

By David Howell

WATER VALLEY – Supervisors split votes on a request from a justice court clerk for mileage expenses occurred while traveling from the office to the courthouses.

    Carol Wilbourn submitted a $52 claim for mileage for traveling from the justice court office in Water Valley to the Coffeeville Court-house and Water Valley Courthouse in January to perform court duties.

    “I am against it,” District One Supervisor Tommy Vaughn responded after the claim was presented.

    Chancery Clerk Amy McMinn explained the request was for Wilbourn to travel on January 4, 11, 18 and 25 to the courthouses, a total of 104 miles.

    “If we are going to start paying everybody’s’ travel fees in the county and we are going to go broke,” Vaughn added.

    “Can we pay that, John?” District Five Supervisor Frank “Bubba” Tillman asked.

    “Any pay for in-county travel has got to be pre-approved, that wasn’t pre-approved,” Board Attorney John Crow answered.

    “Does she travel that every week the same deal on courts?” Tillman asked. “I tell you, she leaves home in Coffeeville and comes to her office at the (Carothers) building. Then on Tuesdays she goes to court in Coffeeville. Then she leaves there and drives back to her office. Then she has court one day here (Water Valley),” Tillman said.

    “Let me just say this,” District Three Supervisor M.H. “Butch” Surrette weighed in.

    “And I don’t want to single out anybody, but county employees that take it upon themselves to charge for mileage without board approval, just come in and turn in a claim. That is for this board to decide. It needs to be decided prior to turning in a bill. You can’t just come in out of the blue and say I am driving around here and I am going to turn in a bill. I don’t want to single out anybody, but the Board of Supervisors have got to be in control of who gets mileage and how it is paid with in the county,” Surrette said.

    “But she is driving from down there back to Coffeeville. I can see where it is adding up, but if we can’t do it, we just can’t do it,” Tillman said.

    “I am not saying we can’t do it, but I am saying the Board of Supervisors need to approve it,” Surrette responded.

    “But this morning, if she says I am going to drive 100 miles every month, she is requesting it right then,” Tillman continued.

    “No, she can not do it, she has to come before the Board of Supervisors,” Surrette responded.

    “Last time I checked, these people worked for the Board of Supervisors. We are not trying to be prejudice or anything like that… You don’t just submit bills,” Vaughn added.

    “In other words, she needs to come before the board?” Tillman asked.

    “Well, she can come if she wants to,” Vaughn answered.

    “Well that is what she needs to be told,” Tillman countered.

    “I think she already knew that,” Surrette added.

    “I think she knows. but you don’t just go submitting bills. It is irresponsible,” Vaughn agreed.

    “I still have a claim,” McMinn reminded supervisors.

    “It is not a claim,” Surrette said.

    “If it is on the docket, it is a claim,” Crow answered.

    Vaughn then made a motion to deny the claim.

    “I don’t think it ought to be on the claims docket so I am not going to second it,” Surrette said.

    “If you don’t deny it, they are going to pay it,” Vaughn said. “If we pay that, we are opening up a can of worms.”

    Crow advised supervisors that they must respond to the claim, adding that Wilbourn had appellate rights on the claim.

    Surrette then seconded the motion, adding he had some reservations about it being on the claims docket.

    District Two Supervisor Amos Sims joined Surrette and Vaughn to deny the claim.

    Tillman voted against the claim and District Four Supervisor George Suggs abstained.

    Other business conducted at the meeting includes:

    • Discussed the 2010 Census figures which indicates that Yalobusha’s five Supervisor Districts go from a high of 3064 people in District 3 to a low of 2017 people in District 2. District 1 has 2864 people, District 4 has 2551, and District 5 has 2182.

    Board Attorney John Crow advised supervisors the county is required to redistrict if the populations deviate more than 10 percent in the districts. Redistricting is required once every 10 years so that the voting power of any group of persons in the districts are neither increased nor decreased.

    This often controversial concept is traditionally called “one-man-one-vote,” and requires the population in each of district to be as balanced as possible.

    There were no immediate action taken on the figures.

    • Purchased a $650 ad from Southern Engineering to support a new county and Water Valley map that will be printing and distributed in cooperation with the Water Valley Chamber of Commerce.

    • There was no recessed meeting date set for February which will likely mean the next meeting will be held the first Monday in March.

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