Jackson County Board of Supervisors Leave Public Comment off Agenda

Voters around the state are heading to the polls tomorrow for the primaries. Candidates are making the most of their last full day before the election, to drum up extra votes and that includes the Jackson County Board of Supervisors. All five of their seats are up for grabs, which led to some commotion at their last meeting before Election Day.
Today, the Jackson County Board of Supervisors had their meeting as usual, but one thing was left off the agenda: public comment. Singing River Health System retirees look to the public comment to voice their concerns about their embattled pensions, so naturally they weren’t happy.
Cynthia Almond, a retiree, said, “You don’t want any comments before the election tomorrow. That’s pretty sorry, is all I’ve got to say.” This comment made by a Singing River retiree at the Jackson County Supervisors meeting today was made after the meeting adjourned. A meeting that usually lasts at least an hour was limited to 20 minutes today with no public comment on the agenda.
With today being the day before the big election, and each supervisor’s seat up for grabs, board members say it’s a busy day for campaigning. Jackson County District 1 Supervisor Barry Cumbest said, “We were just trying to have a short meeting today. All the supervisors, everybody, is wanting to go back out and hit the campaign trail.”
While they weren’t allowed to talk at the meeting today, the retirees said they’ll sure be speaking at the polls. Some blame the supervisors for not keeping a closer eye on the health system and its Board of Trustees and now retirees are calling on the citizens of Jackson County to exercise their right to vote tomorrow. “You need to have a say so in this as well. We would appreciate it very much if you would back us up and vote out your supervisor tomorrow,” said Almond.
Another retiree, Pattie Boutwell, said, “The taxpayers are suffering too. Everybody is suffering for this; it’s time for new faces. It’s time for honest people. We want people that are going to help the county.”
Supervisors say they realize the scandal may shake up their chances for re-election but, as with any election, the decision lies within the hands of the voters. “Whether you have a bad situation going on like this with the hospital or just on a normal time, it’s up to the voters. They’ll decide tomorrow who comes back. So, we’ll just have to wait and see,” said Cumbest.


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