Supervisors rescind vote on lobbyist hire - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Supervisors rescind vote on lobbyist hire

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Hinds County Board of Supervisors voted Money to rescind its vote to hire disbarred Jackson attorney Firnist Alexander as a legislative lobbyist.

Supervisors Peggy Calhoun, Robert Graham and Phil Fisher voted to rescind the vote. The three also voted 2-1 to begin accepting applications for the lobbyist position. Fisher voted no because the position is not budgeted.

Supervisors Kenneth Stokes and Peggy Calhoun were not present Monday.

Out of the blue Monday, the Board of Supervisors agreed to hire Alexander. Stokes proposed the idea of hiring a lobbyist and nominated Alexander.

Fisher was the lone vote opposing the hiring Monday. He questioned an open-ended  $10,000 entertainment account to lobby legislators.

Stokes said Monday Alexander's record speaks for itself.  But few knew Firnist Alexander had been blistered in comments by the Mississippi Supreme Court after being publicly reprimanded and sanctioned by the Bar Association.

Court records date from 1980 to 1996 citing an extensive history of disciplinary sanctions. Alexander was sanctioned by Federal Southern District Court in at least 20 separate cases and ordered to pay monetary sanctions to at least 5 federal judges.

The Mississippi Supreme Court Justices wrote:

"Although reluctant to use the cliche, One bad apple spoils the bunch. We believe that Mr. Alexander, as evidenced by this 15 year history of unprofessional and unethical conduct is one of the worst apples of them all."

"We can only conclude that removing him from the practice of law is essential to preserving the dignity and reputation of the profession."

Alexander addressed the Board about the need for lobbying lawmakers.

"It's going to be important to wine and dine them, basically and that's going to be the major part of the expense," Alexander said.

"I voted against it because it was unbudgeted, and because no one would set an amount for salary or for this wining and dining expense account," Fisher said.

Alexander said he's ready to get to business, telling supervisors Monday, the Legislature's social calendar has probably been set, but he believes there is still room to make the wishes of Hinds County known.

"We have to have someone carrying our water," Stokes said.

Meanwhile, The Board of Supervisors seems to be having second thoughts about hiring Alexander. Board President Robert Graham said in a news release Tuesday, "The county needs an experienced lobbyist, but has not executed a contract."

The Board also says it wants to make sure State lobbying law is followed.

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