Posted Jobs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Minus formal vote, supervisors agree to post jobs

By Jason C. Mattox and Billy Davis

A discussion among Panola County supervisors about hiring a new administrator turned to the topic of the county’s current hiring practices.

At a June 27 recess meeting, board president Robert Avant kicked off the discussion by mentioning recent Panolian stories related to the topic of county jobs.

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“I don’t know of any counties that advertise (job openings),” Avant said.  

The Panolian reported in its June 13 edition that a Panola County resident questioned supervisors in a board meeting when board discussion revealed that a job opening for a solid waste manager had not been publicized.

A subsequent story published June 20 polled various county officials about their opinion of posting job openings.

When supervisors’ discussion of job openings concluded Friday, the board had agreed, without taking a formal vote, to post future job openings. That decision came only after supervisors and their board attorney defended the status quo.

Following Avant’s comment, road manager Lygunnah Bean said his department receives applications almost on a daily basis.

“We have people that stop off and put in applications at the courthouse all the time,” he said. “Right now, we have about 100 applications from word of mouth and just people looking for work.”

District 3 Supervisor Gary Thompson said the county could advertise, but the board did not hire.

“The thing is, we can advertise for six months if we want to, but the sheriff or Lygunnah or Jim are going to hire the people they want,” he said. “We don’t want to be dictating who people can hire.”

Board attorney William McKenzie reminded the board that state law does not require the county to advertise for employment.

“You are doing what the law requires,” he said. “You are not required to advertise.

“You don’t have to advertise in the paper,” McKenzie added. “Everyone has a stack of applications as it is.”

District 4 Supervisor Kelly Morris, who has said he supports posting job openings, said the problem with the existing system is the public is not being made aware of openings.

“The process is working, but the mentality is that we are still on the good ol’ boy network because people are not being made aware of a possible job opening,” he said.

Following Morris, District 5 Supervisor William “Bubba” Waldrup reminded the board that they received more applications for the opening in the sanitation department than they did for county administrator.

“We didn’t advertise for the sanitation opening, but we got 20-something applications,” he said. “That’s more than we got for the county administrator job that we advertised for.”

Avant then recommended posting a notice on bulletin boards at the county courthouses in Batesville and Sardis.

“That would let people know if we do have an opening,” he said.

 “I think we have a good system, and we need to move forward,” Thompson said to conclude the discussion.