County supervisors vote in new president

Published 12:07 am Wednesday, January 3, 2018

NATCHEZ — Calvin Butler will serve as the 2018 president of the Adams County Board of Supervisors after a 3-2 vote Tuesday.

Butler, supervisor of District 5, will replace Mike Lazarus, who has served as board president for the past two years.

“I just feel that Adams County has its own way of doing things and a lot of people may be sincere, but sometimes you can be sincerely wrong,” said District 4 Supervisor Ricky Gray, who nominated Butler for the position. “The way we operate, I’m not saying it’s wrong, but in other places, everybody has the opportunity to be president of the board of supervisors. This is nothing personal about anyone on this board, I think it’s time to rotate.”

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Supervisor David Carter of District 2 said he believed Lazarus had been a good president for Adams County in his two years, and that he saw no reason in changing for the sake of change.

“He’s done a good job. He’s got the knowledge,” Carter said. “I see no reason to change that position if it puts us in the best position to move forward. It’s as simple as that.”

Supervisors Gray, Butler and Angela Hutchins of District 3 voted in favor of Butler’s presidency.

Carter and Lazarus voted for Lazarus to continue in his position as president.

Lazarus said he would not contest the transfer of the presidency to Butler and that he felt his time spent on county issues would not diminish.

“This isn’t going to change anything,” Lazarus said. “I’m still going to answer phone calls all day.”

Butler said he was ready to take on the hardships of being president.

As the new president, Butler will conduct monthly board meetings and represent supervisors in other public settings, such as at a city meeting or during statewide conferences.

The president receives no additional compensation or additional power added to his vote, but Butler said a great deal more responsibilities accompany the position.

“I think the experience of being board president will be something different and enlightening and probably challenging,” Butler said.  “But I’m ready.

“It’s going to be a learning curve for me, but I think it’s important for every board member to have the chance to be the president, if that’s what they want,” Butler said.

Butler has been a supervisor for seven years, and has spent the majority of the last two years as vice president.

In his first act as new president, Butler called for nominations for vice president of the board.

Hutchins nominated Carter, who said he felt he had prior commitments that could interfere with his work if he becomes vice president of the board.

“I don’t want to step into something that I know I won’t have the time for,” Carter said. “I’m 100 percent behind Adams County. I’m 100 percent behind Calvin. I just don’t have the time. I’ll let ya’ll decide, but … I’m just worried about my current capacity in taking on this position. I just want to be totally honest.”

Despite his protest, the board approved a motion to promote Carter to vice president.

“We will help you out,” Butler said.

Butler said Carter’s nomination would be the natural continuance of a rotation of the board.

“David, Angela and I came in at the same time and Angela didn’t want to be president or vice president,” Butler said. “So, if we rotate every year, David should be president next year and somebody else would fill the vice president spot.”

After the meeting, Butler said he hoped to focus on infrastructure projects such as the improvement of roads and bridges in Adams County and employment during his time as president.

“Like we said, we’re going to rotate,” he said. “I know it will be challenging. I just want to try it on.”