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By CARL SMITH
Oktibbeha Countyâ€™s two supervisor-elects are preparing for their new leadership roles by attending board meetings before officially taking over, an act County Administrator Don Posey said has been uncommon in his tenure.
District 1 Supervisor-elect John P. Montgomery and District 5 Supervisor- elect Joe Williams won their respective seats by defeating incumbents in this yearâ€™s election season â€” Williams in the primary, and Montgomery in a narrow general election victory â€” and have regularly attended Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisor meetings since.
â€śWeâ€™ve never really had new members come and sit in (as often) as they have,â€ť Posey said. â€śIâ€™ve already had a daylong meeting with both of them to go through the basic knowledge and understanding of their duties, responsibilities and so forth. On Tuesday, weâ€™ll take them down to Jackson for a training and orientation session with other new supervisors.â€ť
While the new board of supervisors is set to take over next year, Montgomery will assume his position as District 1 supervisor early due to Carl Clardyâ€™s resignation effective at the end of December. Calls to Montgomery went unreturned as of press time.
Williams, who has a background in county economic development, said attending meetings allows him not only to keep up with county issues as they stand before he takes over as District 5 supervisor, but also helps him get a feel for the boardâ€™s language, flow and processes.
â€śThe fact that I have had the opportunity to familiarize myself with the boardâ€™s process of how business is handled will only help me in my role. Iâ€™ve gotten the opportunity to familiarize myself with various agendas and discussions, and Iâ€™m getting a feel for how the board functions,â€ť Williams said. â€śIâ€™m very excited about (my new role). Iâ€™ve been a community-minded person for a long time and Iâ€™ve always been involved in community activities. (Serving as a supervisor) will be an extension of what Iâ€™ve already been doing. I look forward to working with the supervisors we have.â€ť
Both Williams and Montgomery could have a chance to help craft county legislation in January. The board is currently drafting a potential safety ordinance for county clubs and public gathering places and will hold multiple public hearings before its possible adoption.
â€śThose safety concerns are the important issues that need to be addressed. So far, it seems the board is addressing those issues in a thought-out fashion,â€ť Williams said.
Oktibbeha Countyâ€™s current longest-tenured supervisor, District 2â€™s Orlando Trainer, said both Montgomeryâ€™s and Williamâ€™s initiative to learn will help them serve their districts better in the long run.
â€śItâ€™s tremendous that theyâ€™ve taken the time and come to our meetings to observe,â€ť Trainer said. â€śThat gives them an opportunity to get familiar with the flow. They can then come in and know some supervisorsâ€™ thinking and thought patterns on the issues.â€ť
Trainer said new county representatives benefit when long-serving board members provide insight and experience to the incoming supervisors. Trainer said former District 5 Supervisor George Curry provided him with a wealth of knowledge and guidance.
â€śMy first term, I was very excited. Although you might not know much then, if you have the will to learn, you can,â€ť he said. â€ś(Curry) took me under my wing, and I knew if there was any idea I had, I could run it by him. With our new supervisors, I want to formally sit down with them and ask what they want to accomplish. Weâ€™ll take those desires, process them and then try to accomplish those goals as we can. Weâ€™ll lay down a foundation and build on it.â€ť