Rockco Questions Why She Isn't Board President

Connie Rockco thought it was her turn to rap the gavel, and bring Harrison County supervisor meetings to order.

"I felt like it would be an opportunity for change," she said.

On Monday, Rockco had one of her daughters at the first meeting of the new term. The supervisor expected to move from the Vice President's chair to the President's seat. She thought she would become the first female to ever run Harrison County board meetings on a weekly basis. But her bubble burst when Bobby Eleuterius got the nomination.

"I think maybe gender played a part," Rockco said three days later. "But I think my being outspoken and asking questions and not accepting status quo, really looking for change and progress in the county might have been the biggest issue."

When asked if she believed the fact that she ruffled some feathers with the development commission in particular may have cost her the presidency, Rockco said, "Yes I do."

Not so said the incoming board president.

"It has nothing to do with gender," Eleuterius said. "It has nothing to do with plots. It has nothing to do with ploys, we just felt like someone with 20 years of experience versus someone first term, starting their second term, they felt more comfortable with that individual. And it happens to be me."

So you understand, the board president sets the agenda. The position doesn't pay an additional salary. The last four years, each male on the board had that responsibility. That's why Connie Rockco thought it was her turn in 2004. But on Monday, Larry Benefield, William Martin and Bobby Eleuterius voted for Eleuterius, and not Rockco. Only supervisor Marlin Ladner supported her.

"It's politics," she said. "And something that I've lived with for four years. I have to accept it and move on."

That's what Rockco and Eleuterius both said the board would do -- move on from this issue, so supervisors can work to improve Harrison County.

State law requires a board president to serve a four year term. Harrison County supervisors admit they deviated from that law in 2000, when they decided to change presidents once a year. That won't happen any longer. Bobby Eleuterius will be board president through 2007.