Supervisors endorse Governor's statewide order after being asked to 'stand down'

The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors met yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) and voted to support the actions taken by the Governor with his statewide Shelter in Place order he signed just prior the board’s meeting.


After the Supervisors watched Governor Tate Reeves live video press conference that began at 3:30 p.m and signing of the order, Board President and District Five Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith opened the board the meeting with an explanation of why the board had waited to take any new action on a county wide order.


Smith said he has been involved on numerous conversations with local health care providers and other elected officials on Monday that convinced him the county needed to take action on Tuesday. Smith said he heard the fear and concern in the voices of the medical providers and felt the board should do something more stringent.


Smith said that he received a phone call from Governor Tate Reeves’ office Chief of Staff Brad White on Monday evening at around 10:00 p.m. During that phone call, Smith expressed his concern to White about what was going on in the county and what he had heard during the conference call with local medical providers. After hearing that information, White said the governor’s office would come back in touch the next morning with a plan for Pearl River County.


While waiting on a call back from the Governor’s office, Smith contacted other board members as well Board Attorney Joe Montgomery and County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin on Tuesday morning anticipating some direction during the morning from White and the governor’s office.


Smith’s plan was to meet and take action on Tuesday, but he received a call from White asking Smith and the county to ‘stand down’ because the Governor had a plan he wanted to announce.


On Tuesday, Governor Reeves announced a plan for Lauderdale County that received a lot criticism across the state. Reeves then announced another press conference for Wednesday.


Smith said that is the reason the county waited to enact a Shelter in Place order was because they had been informed by the governor’s office that Reeves would be putting a statewide order in place and the governor’s office asked Smith and the county to ‘stand down’ until Reeves had his Wednesday afternoon announcement.


After Smith explained the events leading up to that point, the board voted to endorse the Governor’s order that starts on Friday, April 3rd at 5:00 p.m. and lasts until Monday, April 20th at 8:00 a.m.


During the meeting, Board Attorney Joe Montgomery said that individuals not following the Shelter in Place Order can be arrested and will face a fine $500.00 and face up to six months in jail based on existing statutes in place, unless the order by Governor Reeves has different fines and punishment specified therein.


At the time of the discussion, Montgomery and the board had not received a written copy of the order signed by the governor.

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