During the Ellisville Board of Alderman’s first meeting of the new year on Tuesday, January 7 the board welcomed newly appointed City Attorney Randy P. Laird.
Laird was appointed with the unanimous consent of the mayor and the board of alderman to take the place of longtime City Attorney Freda Collins, who resigned the position December 31, after serving for 36 years.
“We appreciate what she’s done and for being here this long,” said Mayor Lynn Buckhaults adding. “She’s been an icon of the community for many years.”
Laird was born in Laurel in 1955, and his family lived in Waynesboro until 1968, when they moved to Ellisville. Laird is a graduate of South Jones High School and Jones County Junior College. He attained a bachelor of public administration in 1977, a master of public administration in 1981 and a juris doctorate in 1982 from the University of Mississippi. He was admitted to the Mississippi Bar in 1982.
He has represented corporations and served on boards in the private and public sectors, including oil and gas companies, medical facilities, manufacturing companies and charitable institutions. He was elected alderman-at-large in 2001 and served one term. He is married to Julie Laird, and they have three children – Emily, Melissa and Ethan – who are a doctor of dental science, doctor of philosophy and a civil engineer, respectively.
“Julie and I consider this appointment a great honor and look forward to serving the city,” stated Laird. “I appreciate the mayor and the board for having the confidence in me to assign me to this honorable task. I will do the best I can for this area.”
In other business, the mayor informed the board of the condition of two employees who are facing challenging health issues and are unable to work. Chris Langley, public works director and wastewater generator manager, was injured during a hunting accident and had to have a medical procedure done, while John McLemore is also out for an extended time due to a medical condition. Langley is expected to return to work on light duty within a few weeks. However, it is unknown at this time when McLemore will return.
Three citizens scheduled to receive adjustments to their water bill for various reasons were not present at the meeting, so they will not receive the adjustments.
Jeff Pittman with The Village Subdivision addressed the board regarding documentation that MDEQ requested concerning the proposed sewer system for the subdivision. The developer is proposing a sewer system that will require individual pumps for each home in the subdivision. The pumps will be installed and maintained by each homeowner. The city will provide a letter to MDEQ acknowledging the city’s willingness to receive and treat wastewater from the subdivision but will not be responsible for the maintenance of the pumps.
In matters pertaining to the Ellisville Police Department, the board took an additional legal step in voting to allow the swearing-in of only certified officers as a deputy court clerk for bond approval, which speeds up the arresting process. The officers will be able to approve the bonding of an individual being arrested without the individual having to wait on a court clerk to arrive before obtaining bond approval.
The board approved the following for travel: Suzanne Harenza and Emerald Wuertz to attend the spring certification course in Hattiesburg, March 4-6; Charles Jernigan to attend the water certification review course, January 28 and 29; City Attorney Randy Laird to attend the MS Municipal Attorney’s Association Conference, January 16; and Debbie Sumrall to attend the debt set-off training in Jackson on January 14.
The board’s next meeting will be Tuesday, January 21 at 5:30 p.m.