District 1

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 5, 2011

District One supervisor will donate truck to Road Dept.

By Billy Davis

District 1 Supervisor James Birge is giving his county-owned truck to the road department, road manager Lygunnah Bean said Monday.

Bean included that news among other road-related items during the Board of Supervisors meeting in Sardis.

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The Panolian reported in February that Birge’s 2007 GMC truck had accumulated 42,330 miles during the 2009-2010 fiscal year, outpacing road department employees.

The mileage records came from Birge’s Fuel Man refueling cards. Automobile mileage is recorded during each refueling.

Bob Bryant, a Crenshaw resident, had requested Fuel Man records after submitting a Freedom of Information request to Panola County government. A copy of the records was given to The Panolian.

“I ride a lot, up and down the roads,” Birge said at the time, when asked about mileage that averaged more than 800 miles a week.  

Birge had also denied he used the truck for his plumbing business, though Red Jacket brand plumbing supplies were seen in the bed of the pickup.

The plumbing supplies were for personal use, Birge told a reporter.

Reached by phone Monday, Birge had little to say about giving up the county truck. “I didn’t need it anymore,” he said, before telling a reporter he had to hang up on his cellular phone.

 “The men appreciate you coming around and buying them lunch,” Bean told Birge at the Monday meeting. “They hope you don’t stop.”

When the road department receives the truck, it will receive a well-worn vehicle: its odometer showed 197,650 miles in February.