County Privatization May Not Be The Answer, One Supervisor Says

The Harrison County Supervisors have not decided if they will privatize any county department. The board will look at every department's budget carefully to see if the idea is even worth pursuing.

Supervisor Bobby Eleuterius says he will consider any proposal, and will also carefully consider the job security of county workers.

"Employees may be able to go to some of these privatization companies if we in fact privatize, using the sand beach as an example. However, they're not guaranteed a job, they're there for a certain amount of time, they don't work out just like any other job, they'd go," Eleuterius said.

Eleuterius also said the employees benefits would go too.

"You have some of these folks that have been with the county for years, 14, 15, 16 years, they would lose their retirement and they would also lose their insurance and that is a concern to them."

Eleuterius says that's why he'll carefully weigh the benefits of saving money against job cuts.

Privatizing isn't a new concept. Some of the mayors and city council members attending this year's Mississippi Municipal Association meeting say their cities have turned over services to private contractors.

"I think we all deal with taxpayers money, and we're responsible to them, and if we can do it cheaper and as well, sometimes we need to look at that," Laurel Mayor Susan Vincent said.

"We look for ways that we can bring the private sector in because it reduces the tax burden if we can do it more efficiently. City government's not always the most efficient way to get anything done," Tupelo Mayor Larry Otis said. "Find the people who do it the best and work with the people who do it the best."

That's what Bobby Eleuterius says he's most concerned about, doing what's best for Harrison County while watching out for its employees too.

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