Travel request by interim county prosecutor questioned by county

Published 12:49 am Monday, October 23, 2017


NATCHEZ — Supervisors could not get a majority Monday in a vote on whether to send the interim county prosecutor to Choctaw for a state conference.

Though she was not present at the board meeting, Interim County Prosecutor Aisha Sanders sent a request asking to go to the 2017 Fall Prosecutors Conference at the Pearl River Resort. The conference would be Oct. 25 to 27.

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A special election is set for Nov. 7 in which county voters will elect a new county prosecutor. Bryan Callaway, Shameca Collins and Scott Pintard have qualified for the position.

Supervisors appointed Sanders following Barret Martin’s announcement he would retire effective May 31. Several supervisors requested the appointee not seek the position, and Sanders said at the time she would not.

Sanders said after the meeting Martin was sent to a conference in April by the county, but she paid out of her own pocket to go to get information from the legislative session about changes that would take place on July 1.

“While I understand I am leaving office sometime in November or Maybe December, there are still updates I need to see,” Sanders said.

District 1 Supervisor Mike Lazarus said he had reservations about spending approximately $500 to send Sanders to a conference because a week later, a new county prosecutor would likely be in place.

“I don’t see a need for her to attend, but it is up to the board,” Lazarus said.

District 4 Supervisor Ricky Gray said if a run-off occurs, Sanders could be in the position for longer.

Lazarus said even with a run-off, he did not see a need to travel for the conference. Lazarus said as soon as a clear-cut winner is elected, that person would take office.

Gray also said one person in the judicial system is out and Sanders having more skills might come in handy in the future.

“If this person can go get some knowledge and understanding, I don’t have a problem with that,” Gray said. “It is not like it is going to be $5,000 to $6,000.”

Gray did not mention a specific person in the judicial system who was out. Judge Patricia Dunmore took leave at the beginning of June. Since Gray made this comment, Dunmore has returned to justice court.

Gray made a motion to approve the travel, and District 3 Supervisor Angela Hutchins seconded it.

The motion failed because no majority was reached, as Lazarus and District 5 Supervisor Calvin Butler voted against it.

District 2 Supervisor David Carter was absent.

Sanders said like in April, she would pay out of pocket to attend the meeting.

“I regret they did not vote to send me, but I have no hard feelings toward the board,” Sanders said. “I am still going to go, and I will still represent the citizens of Adams County.”