The Jackson County Board of Supervisors has allowed the Singing River Hospital System retirees’ pension to be in peril.
By spending thousands of taxpayers’ dollars on legal fees with no apparent solution, it appears the board continues to support the inept former and present hospital administration. Now, the board is attempting to shove the idea of damming the Pascagoula River down the throats of taxpayers.
The board has spent thousands of dollars in legal fees and in lobbying efforts to dam the Pascagoula to enrich a select few. Even though Jeff Bellweber claims the dams will protect the river’s flow and water level, the Pascagoula River has incurred droughts and floods for thousands of years and, like the Mississippi, keeps on meandering along. Why try to fool Mother Nature?
The question in my mind is whether there is anyone in Jackson County whose last name is not Cumbest that thinks Supervisor Barry Cumbest is not a crook? My guess is the answer is more than one but not many.
My personal hunch is a backroom deal was cut that incentivized every Jackson County Sup to support the project as well as keep it on the down low for as long as possible.
Meantime we have this from our friends over at SRHS Watch:
Cumbest told the Sun Herald he is part-owner with his family of 40 acres in George County that likely will go under water if the lakes are built. He also is part owner with his family of 200 acres in Jackson County near where the dam is proposed for the lower lake, he said. The 200 acres in Jackson County is undeveloped and without roads, he said. The 40 acres in George County are on a road, he said.
Cumbest has been the point man on this project for the supervisors, and last year went to Washington with George County representatives to seek funding for Lake George.
A chip off the ol’ block? The word Brazen comes to mind here.
Locals in Wiggins still tell stories about the politically connected land swindles that preceded Pat Harrison’s Flint Creek water park back in the day. Lake George appears to be a 21st century replay.
We also had runoff elections in Jackson County with two County Sups in runoffs. Before I link Anita I’d like to revisit what was the prevailing thoughts on the primary elections dating to late July and the confab between elements of the media including Slabbed and the SRHS retirees. While there was no candidate promotion at that meeting a very frank discussion was held about all the candidates for the County Board of Supervisors as well as what people thought was their best guess at board turnover, such speculation also periodically appearing here on Slabbed in comments. Everyone pretty much agreed there would be no more than three seats change with two seats being the more likely number. No one saw what would come on August 4th, with two Sups losing outright and two more being forced into runoffs, especially given the overall low voter turnout raising the possibility of four new Supervisors. For those wanting change the Primary election exceeded expectations. After the runoff elections my mathematically oriented mind immediately thought of mean reversion to make sense of last night’s results:
I thought Sabrina Smith had Barry Cumbest on the ropes and he surprised us with a strong finish. Political newcomer Sabrina Smith ran a spirited, grass roots campaign against an incumbent Supervisor that comes from a large Jackson County’s family that has been around for hundreds of years and took him to the wire. She should be proud of the campaign she ran and to borrow and slightly change a football phrase she left it all on the campaign trail. Kudos to Ms. Smith.
Troy Ross advancing to the general election did not surprise me, especially since I was aware that he had the significant support among the SRHS retirees. You see folks people are motivated to vote for a number of reasons many of which are noble but mostly people vote their wallets. I disclosed the reason Sup Ross would win before the election here, specifically:
Ross supporters point to the fact he is a less divisive personality than Brodnax and that Ross will be able to more capably work with the new board to fix the myriad of problems the county faces.
Slabbed has had the privilege to report on this incredible story that involves the intersection of a major scandal with the fields of auditing, finance and the law, in the SRHS meltdown. Even more significant is the political component in a group of people that cast aside personal differences to create a grassroots movement with a unified voice in the SRHS retirees. They have become a political power in Jackson County.
This group of folks and their determination to see justice done included picketing in the cold of winter and the worst of our summertime heat almost nonstop. This has gone on so long that the group has seen a few of its members die and yet more step up to post. I rather suspect these folks, despite the close bonds they have forged with each other, would much rather be inside in the air conditioning that manning a picket line in the 95 plus degree heat.
My wife and I are registered voters in Mr. Cumbest’s district. I’m also a former administrator at SRHS and sent a letter addressed to Mr. Cumbest (dated November 3, 2014) when the SRHS pension problems first came to light….so I am genuinely interested in Mr. Cumbest’s latest comments…..especially since he never bothered to respond to my concerns. No written response. No phone call. No followup email. Not even a canned “thank you for your feedback” letter. Nothing. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I would think that a locally-elected official would take time to at least acknowledge a thoughtful letter from a concerned constituent. If he/she can’t even manage to do that, then how much does that person really “care”?
I’m proud to have voted for Sabrina Manning Smith in the Republican primary and will be at polls bright and early on August 24th to vote for her again in the runoff. I refuse to vote for Barry Cumbest….not because I disagree with him politically…..but rather because he has shown me that he really doesn’t care about those he perceives as “nobodys”. My hope is that the “nobodys” will show up in droves on August 24th and vote him out of office.
First up I must give props to the District One residents that correctly predicted that incumbent Sup Barry Cumbest was in trouble before the primary election. Conventional wisdom was that Cumbest would be re-elected and that still may happen despite the fact he failed to get 50% plus one on the first try.
That said all the candidates that did not make the runoff have endorsed Sabrina Smith. Smith is a political novice but she has run a spirited campaign to unseat Cumbest. She was smart enough to court the SRHS retirees early on and this now makes her the favorite to win the seat next Tuesday.
Slabbed New Media will not be endorsing any candidates in the runoff election though we highly encourage everyone to go vote a week from tomorrow. Meantime I’m more than happy to let the Cumbest and Smith partisans have their say in comments.
He claims that home confinement would be fine too but before he goes back into the consulting business with a local sitting politician we need to hash out a thing or two starting with that brand spanking new Jackson County Adult Detention Center from where the stench of a steaming pile of Maxwell-Walker scat still emanates. Jackson County still has too many CONsultants on the loose as it stands.
Singing River Health System retirees for some time now have been papering Jackson County with fliers with a simple message: Please help us clean house on August 4th.
We couldn’t agree more. The Jackson County supervisors must go. All five of them.
For months, they have been negligent when it comes to SRHS. At best, they didn’t know what was going on as the SRHS pension fund evaporated and hospital finances withered. And they may have known more than they’re letting on. Either way, they’ve worn out their welcome. Continue Reading…….
To say I am thoroughly disgusted with the inactions and actions of the entire group of Jackson County Board of Supervisors is stating it mildly. Are they hoping that by kicking the can down the road, election time will arrive and people will forget about their inept disservice to Jackson County?
They have not performed the duties they were elected to uphold. It appears they are dragging their feet by not revealing what accountant Billy Guice has uncovered in reference to the Singing River Hospital pension rout. Supervisors and Guice are being paid by the taxpayers of Jackson County! Do they really think voters of their county believe their double-talk?
Is Board Attorney Paula Yancey advising supervisors NOT to report findings Guice has uncovered? If so, they need to fire her and listen to the public voice in order than an open, accountable, honest, transparent government work in Jackson County.
Supervisors Cumbest, Harris, Mangum, Ross and McKay, former Supervisors Barton and Brodnax, trustees and others all share part of the blame for this pension fiasco. Supervisors may not allow retirees ample time to speak or ask questions at board meetings but they cannot stop them from speaking out publicly, protesting and writing.
Jackson County voters are smarter than their supervisors give them credit. The supervisor’s Number 1 responsibility is honest representation to the citizens of Jackson County. But have they?