Stone County Supervisors Headed To Hawaii - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

05/19/05

Stone County Supervisors Headed To Hawaii

Stone County taxpayers will pay the travel expenses, about $10,000, so the board can attend the National Association of Counties convention in mid July.

This year's conference happens to be in Honolulu, Hawaii. It raises the question: Is this a wise use of county funds?

WLOX News found some surprising reaction from Stone County residents.

Stone County supervisors began attending the National Association of Counties annual convention in the early 1990s. The board doesn't always go as a group, but all five will make the trip to Honolulu, Hawaii.

"There's worthwhile issues. I mean I can't judge whether it's worth it or not, but there are some very beneficial issues brought out at those convention," said chancery clerk Gerald Bond.

Bond has attended a past convention. He's not going to Hawaii and understands there may be some public scrutiny.

"I would imagine there might be some question about it. But our board or any member of a board of supervisors in Mississippi doesn't control where the convention is held," Bond said.

Diners at the Whistle Stop Cafe in downtown Wiggins had some definite opinions about the supervisors attending the conference in Hawaii.

"Ten thousand dollars for them to go? Could be spent a whole lot wiser around here," said one woman.

"I reckon it's up to them. They'll do what they want to. But it seems a little far out for me," said one diner, who said it was the first he'd heard about it.

The restaurant owner was also concerned about spending money on such a trip.

"There's a lot of things this county needs, economically. We've been trying to push for beautification of the city and everything. So, if they're doing that, that's not right," said Leisa Culpepper.

To be fair, not everyone raised their eyebrows about the planned trip to Hawaii. Several people told WLOX News, if the conference benefits the county, why worry so much about the destination?

"I think it's okay. They've got to go somewhere you know," said one woman.

"If I was supervisor, I'd say great. I think anyone else in Stone County, if they were supervisor, they'd be for it and they'd want everybody to be for them. So I say, go for it," one man told us.

Harrison and Jackson counties are 'not' sending any supervisors to the convention in Hawaii. They told us it's too expensive.

So you know, WLOX News tried to contact each of the Stone County supervisors today. The one we reached by phone, Robert Williams, said "no comment" just before he hung up.

By Steve Phillips

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