Harrison County Utility Authority launches search for director - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Harrison County Utility Authority launches search for director

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HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

The Harrison County Utility Authority has launched a search for a new executive director. Just last week, the utility board voted to fire longtime director Kamran Pahlavan over conflict of interest concerns involving a car purchase.

Thursday morning was a regular monthly meeting for the utility board, with acting director, Bart Clover, sitting in the executive director's spot. Near the end of the agenda, came a motion to go behind closed doors.

"Go into executive session in order to discuss personnel matters related to the executive director's position," said board member Kim Savant.

The issue discussed in executive session was the possible hiring of an interim director.   But, following the 20 minute discussion, no action was taken.

"My understanding is you just don't want to act on an interim executive director right now. I suggest that you start the process to hunt for a new executive director," said board attorney Jim Simpson.

And that's exactly what board members did, authorizing the board attorney to initiate the search process.

"We want to make sure we do the right thing and get the best man for the job. We're going to take our time and make some good choices," said board member Mayor A.J. Holloway.

"We need to be as open as possible. We need to be as open as possible in everything we do," said Kim Savant.

WLOX News asked several board members what could be done to restore any public trust which may have been lost over the incident.

"I think we've already done everything we could. I mean as soon as we were aware of a problem, we handled it. And I don't know what else could have been done," said Utility Board Chairman, Mayor Billy Skellie.

"I don't think there's any public trust that's been lost. We had an issue. We dealt with the issue. Now, we're looking for a director," said board member, Mayor George Schloegel.

"Well, I'd like to see a consensus of the people and get the right person in there to run it. That's not an easy job in there. Not anywhere near being an easy job," said board member, Mayor Chipper McDermott.

Chairman Skellie said that new director could be hired within the next 30 to 45 days. By statute, the executive director of the utility authority must be a licensed, professional engineer.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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