Supervisor keeps name of his SRHS trustee selection under wraps - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Supervisor keeps name of his SRHS trustee selection under wraps

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

The embattled Singing River Health System Board of Trustees could soon have a fresh face join the group to help during this pension crisis. But, the person who will be nominated to fill a vacancy is not being released just yet.

For more than a month, there has been a vacant slot on the Board of Trustees for Singing River Health System. Morris Strickland, who now lives in Biloxi, resigned after learning about the residency law that required him to stay in Jackson County.

His resignation came months after health system officials revealed the pension plan for retirees had not been fully funded by them since 2009.

Supervisor John McKay appointed Strickland in 2008 when he reportedly lived in Jackson County. McKay said he has chosen a replacement, but would not reveal the name just yet.

"The board has to approve it also, so if I throw it out there today and for some reason I can't understand the board rejects it, then that would be bad. That is the reason I am not announcing it today, but I will do it at our Monday board meeting," said McKay.

While McKay is staying tight lipped for now about the big appointment, he talked about the long and tedious process of picking a new trustee.

"I actually only interviewed five people. I had a lot of applications for a lot of reasons. For example, several that were nominated live outside of district five. This is a district five appointee, so I had to eliminate those right off the bat. I eliminated several because they had connections to the hospital. I wanted someone with a fresh mind and fresh thoughts," said McKay.

He is confident his new pick will have the time and talent to help clean up the pension plan mess for retirees and save the hospital.

"The one thing that stood out about this person was back months ago before this ever happened when it first started coming to light, he came to me and volunteered to help in his professional service. He said, ‘I won't charge you a dime, and I want to help the people out there, and I want to help the hospital system,' and that showed a dedication. Someone who will look at the people retired and hopefully save the pension plan," said McKay.

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