Joanne Autrey letter

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Citizen puzzled over sheriff’s ‘lecture,’ urges polite cooperation

Dear Editor,

In reference to the front page news story Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011, concerning Panola County Sheriff Otis Griffin and the Panola County Jail:

I am confused. Why would a newly elected sheriff  take a “posse” with him to a supervisor board meeting instead of appearing as a friendly and dedicated public servant with a detailed explanation of concerns that would automatically be important to a board that has the best for Panola County uppermost in their minds?

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I don’t understand accusing unnamed county leaders, lashing out a critical lecture-like speech, referring to people “crying to the president” and being so concerned that it is interpreted as anger.

I don’t understand inmates being used on a garbage detail being referred to as, “They are not less, I think in a sense, they’re more.”

More what?

I don’t understand why (County Administrator) Kelly Magee’s suggestion of shopping for the best price and keeping up with the merchandise was grounds for discontent.

I don’t understand “the dangerous environment at the jail; some inmates have attacked jailers recently.”

Does increasing salary solve this kind of problem? I would be inclined to think that this problem involves policy.

I do understand Board President Gary Thompson’s comment “one thing Panola County does not have is an unlimited tax base to fund everything that needs funding.”

I do understand the need for a work session to explore the costs of all the requests. It’s easy to figure that the salary increases alone would mean at least $12,000 a year and that’s not counting the extra hire and (unknown amount) lieutenants’ raises.

I do understand that this meeting appeared to represent a scathing criticism and a personal agenda rather than a polite and cooperating spirit of explaining detailed needs of this county with detailed solutions.

Help. Panola County deserves everyone’s best … or we really will “be another Clarksdale” and then everybody can look in the mirror and blame themselves.

Joanne M. Autrey