HCDC Develops A Blueprint To Repair Its Image

Henry Kinney is in the middle of a legal fight with the Harrison County Development Commission. Yet, he was just appointed to the 11 member agency. And he just wrote a blueprint for the economic development group.

"It is a plan for the future," the Pass Christian attorney said. "By adopting positive change, you will not be admitting or stating that anything has been done wrong in the past."

Past development commission actions have been scrutinized by Kinney and by Harrison County Supervisors. Because of the scrutiny, supervisors recently pulled their annual funding from the development agency.

Kinney has been told that adopting the blueprint should pave the way for supervisors to restore that money in the development commission's budget.

"I know the board of supervisors believes that this is the absolute end of the past, and a new slate and a clean slate," he told fellow commissioners while they debated each point in his proposal.

Elmer Williams is president of the HCDC.

"We need to move forward," he said. "I really hope that all of our commissioners will look at this and see that this could be a turning point in our relationship with the board of supervisors."

During this meeting, words like "distrust" were used to describe the growing rift between the development commission and supervisors.

Commissioners like Frank Castiglia believe the 27 point blueprint could be the band-aid that brings the two agencies back together.

"Like Elmer said, I hope we can use this to move forward and start a new day," said Castiglia.

Harrison County Development Commissioners still haven't hired a new executive director. They're hoping a new blueprint, and a new working relationship with supervisors will speed up the hiring process.