County board rehires Latham

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 23, 2008

NATCHEZ — On Tuesday morning former Adams County attorney Bob Latham officially accepted an agreement with the Adams County Board of Supervisors that rehires him until Rentech’s land closing on April 1.

On Jan. 7, the supervisors voted not to rehire Latham.

Then on Jan. 9, upon Rentech’s request, Latham was rehired to facilitate the land transaction between Rentech, International Paper and Adams County.

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Board President Henry Watts said under the terms of Latham’s reemployment he will work only until April 1, or until the Rentech land deal is completed.

Latham said he has been rehired at a rate of $175 per hour.

Watts said in an effort to keep abreast of the land closing, only two and a half months away, he has asked that Latham will provide him with a list of everything that needs to happen for the deal to close.

In addition Watts said he will give all work done by Latham to interim attorney Bobby Cox for a second look.

For Cox’s participation in the Rentech deal he will receive no compensation Watts said.

“He cares about the county and he does not want to see the process slowed in any way,” he said.

In other business, Adams County Sheriff Ronny Brown informed the board that two padded cells had been successfully installed in the county jail.

The cells will primarily be used for patients being held until space in a mental facility is available.

Watts said the $37,800 purchase illuminates a need for better mental health facilities in the area.

“It might be padded but it’s still a jail,” he said. “We need a more suitable place for the mentally ill.”

Brown agreed with Watts, saying that the Mississippi Sheriff’s Association has petitioned the legislature for a more permanent solution to house mentally ill individuals.

“They don’t need a jail,” he said. “They need a hospital.”

In other business, county resident Robert Smith met with the board.

Smith met with the board to discuss compensation for his land’s easements involving his property, in Kingston, in regards to a dam project.

On Jan. 11, board members met with another landowner involved with the same project.

Watts said he thought that all litigants in the case had been correctly compensated and that the terms of those agreements had been reached two years ago.

On Tuesday, Smith said he was seeking compensation for part of his fence left underwater by the restructuring of the dam.

Smith said the fence helps to keep his cows from escaping.

After the meeting on Tuesday both Smith and Watts said a satisfactory agreement had been reached.

Watts said since the matter was decided in executive session, the exact terms could not be released for 30 days at which point they become public record.