Steve Rogers

About Steve Rogers

Assistant News Director/Assignment Editor; degree in finance and administration from Yale University; 35 years experience in journalism.

Conference Bill Sparks Lowndes Supervisors Debate

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) — A disputed convention hotel bill leads to a long discussion and an apparent agreement to disagree among Lowndes County supervisors.

In June, supervisors attended a state association convention in Biloxi. In July, they approved payment of the hotel bills and daily expenses. Then, County Administrator Ralph Billingsley realized he’d approved $199 — $158 for a hotel room and $41 per diem — in expenses for District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks to go to Biloxi a day before the convention started.

Wednesday, Board President Harry Sanders tried to get the board to force Brooks to pay back the money or to take it from his monthly mileage expenses.

Brooks said he’d done nothing wrong and promised a court fight.

In the end, the board approved District 2 Supervisor Bill Brigham’s statement that the board thought the payment was a mistake and should be paid back but not to force Brooks to do so.

It’s unclear whether Brooks may now repay the money on his own.

Meanwhile, supervisors will consider an actual travel policy that could help avoid such disputes in the future.

And they’ll take a look at better record keeping for monthly expenses.

Currently, Brooks simply lists constituent services on his mileage forms but not who or where the constituent is and what the issue. Other supervisors provide more details.

The state auditor has said Brooks’ method is satisfactory but Sanders says the county should be more transparent with taxpayer dollars.