Reconfirmation hearing could be next week

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 21, 2009

Jackson — A hearing to reconfirm Mississippi Department of Transportation Executive Director Larry L. “Butch” Brown in his current position could be as early as next week, Brown said Friday.

But until Thursday, Brown didn’t think any such confirmation was needed.

An opinion from the state attorney general says Brown will have to be confirmed by the state Senate to serve another term.

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Brown was appointed to head MDOT in 2001, and he was reconfirmed in 2004 after he was briefly fired but rehired weeks later.

MDOT lawyers had reportedly told Brown he did not have to be reconfirmed.

Members of the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee sought the opinion.

Brown said he thinks he’ll have no problem being reconfirmed.

“I’m very confident I’ll be reconfirmed,” he said. “I think my record speaks for itself.”

But not everyone is as hopeful as Brown.

Dick Hall, MDOT’s Central Mississippi Commissioner, said he feels Brown should not be reappointed.

Hall was a driving force in seeking an opinion from the attorney general.

“There is a procedure that should be followed,” Hall said of the need for reconfirmation.

Hall said he believes MDOT could be better run without Brown.

“He’s not a good steward of public funds,” he said.

Brown’s current term expires April 1.

Brown is the former Natchez Mayor and still maintains a house in town.