Supervisors discuss progress with assistance for VFDs in county

At Monday’s meeting of the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors, Board Vice President Hudson Holliday and Emergency Operations Director and Fire Department Coordinator Danny Manley provided an update on their meeting with the chiefs of the county’s volunteer fire departments (VFDs).

Holliday, who was opposed at the last meeting of the supervisors vote to hire a person to work with Manley to assist the VFDs, said that he had a change of heart after meeting with Manley and the fire chiefs. Holliday said the meeting provided some very good discussion and they were able to talk about and alleviate all of the concerns he had heard personally from some of the fire chiefs.

Holliday said that his mindset had shifted from concerned about the process to one of making it mandatory that all the VFDs come under Manley’s direction for their finances to the point of having all their expenses and accounting to be handled by the county.

Manley (pictured standing) said that he thinks it is best to keep the assistance on a voluntary basis at this time as they work through the process. The plan that was put in placed by the board gives Manley the responsibility to oversee the purchases of the VFDs while each department keeps their individual account balances as before, but the purchasing will come through Manley and his assistant who will also provide all the VFDs support in keeping the reporting system updated.

Manley said it takes about six weeks for him to work through on-boarding a VFD into the voluntary process. Manley said that while he agrees it would be good to have all VFDs on board, for now he would like it to be a voluntary basis. Manley said that at present one-third of the VFDs are on board with the new process and he has been contacted by others requesting to sign on as well.

(L-R) Supervisors Donald Hart and Malcolm Perry, and County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin used the current docket to point out how efficient the process works allowing the board to easily look at expenditures on an individual basis for each VFD that is using the process.

District 2 Supervisor Malcolm Perry commended Manley for his efforts and how he has explained the process and showed the VFDs the advantages of using the assitance. Perry agreed that it should remain a volunteer process at this time, but he feels, like Manley, that over the long haul, all the VFDs will come on board.

The board did not take action on Holliday’s suggestion to make it mandatory.

The board did approve Manley’s request to hire Shawn Wise to fill the position to assist the Manley and the VFDs.

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