Delayed Hiring

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Supervisors delay anticipated hiring after president falls ill

By Billy Davis

Panola County Supervisor Robert Avant is undergoing tests in the step-down intensive care unit at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford.

Avant was admitted to Tri-Lakes Medical Center last Friday and moved to the Oxford hospital that evening.

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“So far the doctors have ruled out any heart problems. They’re testing his kidneys now,” said wife Vernice Avant Monday.

The longtime supervisor, 58, has been visibly ill for weeks, possibly owing to food poisoning from three weeks ago, said his wife.

With their board president in the hospital, supervisors cancelled a much-anticipated vote Friday to select a new county administrator. That meeting was set for 5 p.m.

A spokesman with the chancery clerk’s office informed The Panolian of the cancelled meeting at 2 p.m. Friday.

Supervisors said Friday they would postpone the vote until the board convenes on August 4 for its First District meeting. That meeting is set for 9 a.m. at the county courthouse in Sardis.

“We felt like it was such an important decision that we all needed to be there,” Supervisor Gary Thompson said.

Avant is serving his fifth term as a Panola County supervisor, the longest-serving member on the five-man board.

He famously ran for the District 2 post, and lost his first two times, after a North Panola school bus he was driving fell into a creek.