Political changes ahead

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2003

It was certainly a year of change in local politics &045; and a year of change remains ahead for the Miss-Lou as municipal campaigns get under way.

In the Adams County sheriff’s race, longtime sheriff Tommy Ferrell &045; whose father served in the office before him &045; was defeated by parole officer Ronny Brown, who will take the oath of office Tuesday morning.

Brown has told 12 sheriff’s office employees they will not be returning to the department and has promised other changes in the coming year as well.

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Brown has said he plans to restructure the narcotics task force to create a larger task force that would investigate narcotics and other felonies.

&uot;When I ran (for office) I said I would get State Narcotics in to run the drug unit,&uot; Brown said earlier this month. &uot;And the state (bureau) used to be here when the narcotics unit first started.&uot;

Concordia Parish and Adams County elected some new officials to sit with the veterans, giving both governments a mix of experience and new ideas to greet the new year.

Meanwhile, the Concordia Parish sheriff’s race was a nail-biter until the end. On the night of the primary, an initial count of the votes gave the victory to incumbent Randy Maxwell. But much later that night Clerk of Courts Clyde Ray Webber discovered an error that actually put Maxwell in a runoff with Glenn Lipsey. After a few weeks of furious campaigning between the two, Maxwell eked out a victory of Lipsey, a former Louisiana state trooper.

Several other new officials will join their respective boards this year.

Taking the oath of office Tuesday will be new Adams County supervisors Henry Watts, who replaces District 2 supervisor Virginia Salmon, and District 5’s Spanky Felter, who replaces Lynwood Easterling.

Re-elected to the board were Sammy Cauthen, District 1; Thomas &uot;Boo&uot; Campbell, District 3; and Darryl Grennell, District 4.

Also re-elected were Chancery Clerk Tommy O’Beirne, Circuit Clerk M.L. &uot;Binkey&uot; Vines, Justice Court Judges Mary Lee Toles and Charles Vess, Coroner James Lee, Tax Collector Vernona Sanders., Tax Assessor Reynolds Atkins,

District Attorney Ronnie Harper, and County Prosecuting Attorney Barret Martin.

Constables Ray Brown and Randy Freeman will also be sworn into office.

In Concordia Parish, several new jurors will take their seats on the police jury Jan. 12.

New jurors include Carey Cook, District 1, Place A; Joe Parker, District 1, Place B; Whest Shirley, District 3, Place B and District 5A Jimmy Jernigan.

Returning jurors are: District 2 Willie Dunbar; District 3, Place A Randy Temple; District 4, Place A Cathy Darden; District 4, Place B Melvin Ferrington; and District 5B Tommy &uot;Red&uot; Tiffee.

Maxwell and Clerk of Court Webber will retake their offices July 1. Coroner Sarah Lee takes office

again March 22, 2004.

In the year ahead, municipalities on both sides of the river will hold elections for mayor and boards of aldermen.

Qualifying for Vidalia, Ferriday, Ridgecrest and Clayton elections is Jan. 28-30, with the primary set for March 9 and the general election April 17.

Qualifying for Natchez city elections ends April 4. Primaries are May 4, runoffs May 18 and the general election is June 8.

In other political news from 2003:

4Concordia Parish, after a series of mishaps and mistakes, finally won approval for its new school district lines from the U.S. Justice Department, a process that had delayed elections twice. The parish is now set to elect school board members March 9.

4Just last week, Adams County, the City of Natchez and the Natchez-Adams School District won approval for an extension of their interlocal agreement for a recreation commission. The state attorney general’s office gave the OK for the commission, which is working to come up with a recreation bond issue referendum voters could see on the ballot next November.