Battling Over The Law

The Harrison County Development Commission voted Thursday to reject the county supervisors' decision to move the commission's funds from its own account to the county treasury. The development commission says the supervisors' action earlier this week comes at a time when the commission is trying to improve what has been a rocky relationship with the supervisors.

The commission members lawyer told them the law does not allow giving up control of the funds.  Last Monday the county supervisors stripped the development commission of control of its budget. The supervisors say they want a better accountability of how the commission spends its money. But the commission's attorney says the agency needs to keep up with its own money. "Under the law, we cannot, our view is we cannot turn over those funds because it's our responsibility to deposit those," says Harry Allen.

The commission's president, Elmer Williams, says the supervisors' vote came out of the blue. "I think we all need to come together to discuss where we go from here, we're amiable to that, we want that and the ball's in their court. I don't know what else we can do," says Williams.

Supervisor President Bobby Eleuterius says at one time the development commission funds were kept in a county depository. He says the county has the authority to control the commission's funds and the supervisors have several attorney general opinions confirming that. Eleuterius says it may be necessary for a judge to settle the funding issue.