Leaders must comply with law

Published 12:05 am Friday, January 21, 2011

I read The Democrat’s front-page article titled, “Leaders attend classes” on Jan. 14. I will point out a few facts for the public as follows:

1. When a supervisor takes office, two important things happen. He/she is sworn-in and vows before God to “faithfully support the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the State of Mississippi, and obey they laws thereof … and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter. So help me God.” (state constitution p. 117-118)

The other thing that happens is that the new supervisor is handed a copy of “County Government in Mississippi.” This book, along with our state constitution contains the laws which every supervisor, the board attorney and the chancery clerk are honor-bound to read and follow.

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They are also legally bound to perform their sworn duty. If they knowingly do not do so, this is called “willful dereliction of duty,” an indictable offense.

2. “County Government in Mississippi” contains specific citations of Mississippi statutory and constitutional law, and it contains opinions of the attorney general. It contains excerpts of Mississippi Supreme Court decisions, which relate to the duties of supervisors and the board attorney. It contains an entire chapter on the Open Meetings Act.

It contains a description of the role and duties of the board attorney. Within that job description is found such statements as:

A. “It is essential that the board attorney provide sound legal advice to the board of supervisors in all matters concerning the county.”

B. “It is critical for the board to follow the advice given by the board attorney.”

C. “The board attorney keeps the board of supervisors within the confines of the law when the board makes decisions.”

D. “The board attorney’s duties consist of … answering legal inquiries from … citizens … and obtaining attorney general’s opinions … and an array of litigation.”

It is becoming known that I have been in contention with the Adams County Board of Supervisors and its board attorney because of the removal of timber by an individual along the right-of-way on Dunbar Road. The board refuses to take any action which might prevent such outrages in the future. During the past three years, I have witnessed firsthand how the board operates.

I will not go into any details here, but the facts and law will eventually be revealed to the public.

I am all for supervisors attending workshops, but it is distasteful to have the public led to believe the board didn’t have information it needed all along.

Lyn Wirtz

Adams County resident