Behind closed doors in executive session, Harrison County's board of supervisors and the new sheriff spent some time getting to know each other a little better.
"I expect us to be able to work out a lot of the problems we'd had with open lines of communication," said District 4's William Martin. "I think it's going to be a great improvement for the entire county, for the Sheriff's department, for the jail. We've got nowhere to go but up as far as I'm concerned."
Incoming sheriff, Melvin Brisolara, said "That's how things get done. Elected officials sitting down talking to one another to resolve the problems that are in front of us all."
Brisolara says one of those issues is restoring integrity to the way the county jail is run.
"The first thing we have to do is make sure that we get the proper people put in place to do the job that they're assigned to do," said Brisolara. "As as long as you can get qualified people put in the positions to do the job, you can hold them accountable. And accountability is very important in an organization like the sheriff's office."
The sheriff-elect says he's assembled an administrative team that together has more than 100 years of law enforcement experience.
"We have our administrative staff in place and we're ready to step in and hit the ground running," said Brisolara.
The staff includes:
- Randy Cook, 54, is a retired Harrison County Sheriff's deputy who is coming out of retirement to head up the patrol and investigation division.
- Former Harrison County human resource director Vandy Mitchell will be the administrative officer. Mitchell is now a Deputy Director of Human Resources for the Department of Homeland Security.
- Landon Phillips, 43, has 15 years of experience in law enforcement. He has worked with the Harrison County Sheriff's Department, Mississippi Gaming Commission and Grand Casino security. He is leaving the a security post at Hard Rock Casino to come Brisolara's chief deputy.
- Tony Sauro is a sheriff's department veteran. He has been on staff since 1987. He is a graduate of the FBI national academy. Sauro will be promoted from captain to deputy major.
- Don Cabana will stay on as warden at the Harrison County Jail.
"We're going to continue to do what we're supposed to do out there and that is to work hard and make the jail better," said Cabana. "I think we've made progress in the past year and we're looking forward to making a lot of progress down the road."
Brisolara says he doesn't expect the sheriff's department and supervisors will always agree but they will be able to talk out their differences.
"Sitting down with the board is not going to be a problem," said Brisolara." Yes, we have some issues there, but all it takes is sitting down, discussing the issues and seeing the best way to resolve them. I think the board is open to work with the sheriff. I'm open to work with them and I think you'll see a whole new era with the Harrison COunty board of supervisors that's long overdue."
Sheriff-elect Melvin Brisolara says he hopes to have his transition team in place by next month so they can hit the ground running come January.