Supervisor Blasts Poll As Mudslinging - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/02/03

Supervisor Blasts Poll As Mudslinging

Supervisor Connie Rockco she's very disturbed that someone is running what she calls a negative, false and mudslinging campaign disguised as a poll.

"The so called poll stated that while Harrison County Development, I criticized the Harrison County Development Commission, that Harrison County Development Commission took me on trips to New York. This is not true."

Rockco says she did indeed travel to New York on county business two years ago, but paid for the trip with her own money.

"And I challenge the Harrison County Development Commission to show me documents that would be contrary to that," she says.

Rockco says the poll praises development commission director Michael Olivier and voters should ask why. "Is the development commission director running for office?"

We asked Rockco if she thought her opponent Les Barnett or commission director Michael Olivier is behind the poll.

"I'd rather not answer that question. I think that the poll speaks for itself and the questions that it asks and the blatant lies that it implies."

Rockco is a big proponent of streamlining county government. In previous supervisor meetings she has grilled Olivier about the development commission, its expenses, its job creation and its tax exemptions.

"It has been in no way an attack but merely a fact finding mission on my part to let others know where their tax dollars are going and if indeed the tax money that we're spending is bringing in a sufficient number of businesses and jobs."

Advertising executive Reed Guice is running the campaign of Les Barnett, Rockco's opponent. Guice says he thinks the poll Rockco is talking about is one he commissioned for several candidates he represents. One of the 25 questions he asked 300 people focused on how county supervisors spend tax dollars. Guice says the poll was not intended to raise issues, but only to test them.

We also heard from the development commission in a written statement. Agency officials disagree with Rockco and say they did pay some of her expenses to New York on three separate trips.

The statement also went on to say "This is not unusual to pay expenses such as airfare, lodging, and meals for county officials representing the commission."

The statement was issued by commission president Bruce Nourse, and not its director, Michael Olivier.

Marcia Hill

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