It’s been going on for years! District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks, with nearly 30 years of public service to his credit, goes off on a rage now and then – a rage that has grown old, weary, tiresome and very disgraceful.
Last week, I reported to you that Supervisor Brooks pitched a hissy fit in the office of County Administrator Ralph Billingsley. Brooks had been asking for a county-issued I-Phone, when he already had a county-issued Blackberry in his possession. Supervisors and other county personnel have long been afforded county-issued cell phones with the taxpayers footing the bill. And well they should have those phones so that constituents and taxpayers (who pay their salaries and pay for their phones and the bill that accompanies them) can contact them. But I-Phones are considered a luxury. Even a Blackberry could be considered a luxury to an extent. Where do we draw the line in extending added perks to elected or appointed public officials?
But an issue even more pressing than the possible abuse of taxpayer money is the conduct of some of our public officials…in this case, Leroy Brooks. Brooks reportedly cursed Billingsley when he told Brooks he wouldn’t be ordering him an I-Phone. He ranted and raved so much, a state auditor heard the encounter. At one point during the rant, Billingsley tried to speak, only to be told by Brooks, “I didn’t say you could speak!” Brooks reportedly reminded Billingsley that he “worked for him”.
Might be a good time to remind Supervisor Brooks that Billingsley works for the board of supervisors, not just him! The board speaks as a body, not one supervisor. No county employee should ever be subjected to verbal abuse such as his. It has been mused by some that Billingsley makes a mighty hefty salary to take such abuse, but regardless his salary, he shouldn’t have to sit and listen to someone screaming and cursing at him under any circumstances. He shouldn’t be subject to threats or verbal abuse of any kind. That type of behavior is neither funny or amusing in any way. And it applies to all county employee’s equally.
At the next board meeting, Brooks will have something to say about this column, as he usually does. That’s ok. I’m a big boy, I can take it. But Ralph Billingsley and other county employee’s don’t have too. His shenanigans need to stop once and for all. Everyone is tired of it and although it gives the media something to write about, enough is enough!
Bernard Buckhalter’s CVB Board Appointment Expires July 3rd
Buckhalter Still Working For Starkville Wendys At Last Check
About a year ago, the Columbus City Council appointed Bernard Buckhalter to the Columbus/Lowndes Conventions and Visitors Bureau board. Buckhalter was appointed to the position on the board that represents the restaurant industry in Columbus. At the time, Buckhalter was an Assistant Manager at one of the Columbus Wendys Restaurants. Since then, Buckhalter has been working at the Wendys in Starkville. (I’ve seen him working the window on several occasions and as of Sunday night, May 13th he was still there, as he handed me my order that night. RW).
Buckhalter’s board position is coming up for reappointment on July 3rd. As of Wednesday, Buckhalter is the only person who has applied for the position. I’ve asked this before and will again. Mr. Buckhalter is working at an out of town restaurant while representing taxpayer’s interest here in Columbus. Is this fair? While there may not be a rule that those applying for the position must work in Columbus, there probably should be.
Columbus Police Department Announces Promotions
After much criticism from many about the lack of police promotions (including this columnist. RW), Chief Selvain McQueen and the CPD announced promotions of 4 police officers at the last council meeting. They were: Donnie Elkin, promoted from corporal to sergeant. Rick Jones, promoted from sergeant to lieutenant. John Duke, promoted from sergeant to lieutenant. And James Grant, also promoted from sergeant to lieutenant.
Though neither have verified, a source told me that at least one or more of these officers obtained legal representation before being promoted.
Columbus, Ms Facebook Watch Group Gains Forum With City Officials
As a result of going before the Columbus City Council during its meeting of Tuesday, May 15th, the Columbus Facebook Watch group has been afforded an opportunity to meet with city officials to discuss crime prevention in the city. The meeting has been set for Thursday, May 31st at 6 p.m. at The Municipal Complex. Lynn Sanders Nordquist and administrators and members of the watch group will meet to discuss ways to work with the city and the police department to better deter crime in Columbus. Nordquist is planning on having prepared questions from those with concerns about crime and discussing those questions with Police Chief Selvain McQueen and other city officials.
In the meantime, Nordquist will be asking members to submit questions ahead of time for possible discussion at the meeting.
‘Saggy Pants’ Ordinance Comes About By Suggestion of Columbus Resident Margaret Evans
It was Columbus resident Margaret Evans suggestion to Ward 3 City Councilman Charlie Box that brought forth discussion of the recently approved ‘Saggy Pants’ ordinance. Though that ordinance was approved at the May 15th council meeting, it must be brought up and voted on again after 30 days. That will fall on the Tuesday, June 19th Columbus City Council meeting to be held at the Municipal Complex.
Ron Williams can be reached by email at Ronsings2you@aol.com0