Monday Morning Water Cooler Talk for August 13, 2012

Why Can’t We Be Friends?…or Harry and Leroy and Maybe Something To Do With Emergency Services

The color of your skin don’t matter to me
As long as we can live in harmony

Why can’t we be friends?
Why can’t we be friends?
Why can’t we be friends?
Why can’t we be friends?


No matter how you slice or dice it, the blow-up at the July 31, 2012 Lowndes County Board of Supervisors meeting proved that one thing is certain: the Supes are no longer the best-behaved group of politicians in the area. As a matter of fact, the recent exposition puts the board back at their fighting best, which is bad for the county. The end-game is that the truce between the two major powerhouses in northern Mississippi – Harry and Leroy – is over.

Nope, to put it mildly, the one group that has made our area look sane for the past several months is gone and all that is left is the fact that we, as a political community, look ignorant. There – it is said. And it needs to be said over and over again until someone – anyone – puts an end to the shenanigans. And the sooner the better.

Between them, the City Council, the Board of Supervisors, the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau Board and the Columbus Municipal School District Board have taken turns to look ridiculous, this summer, and that is unacceptable as hell. It is one thing to make yourself look petty, uneducated and mean-spirited, but don’t make the community look bad in the process.  It destroys the confidence of the entire population.

If you just woke up from a summer slumber, at the last Supervisors’ meeting Leroy became irate because Harry held a meeting with Mayor Robert Smith over emergency services and placing Columbus Fire Chief Kenneth Moore over the entire city and county process. This meeting was held unbeknownst to Leroy and, to put it mildly, he was upset when it was brought up before the board.

Listed below are just a few comments, most made by Leroy and directed at Harry, that got the fires burning over emergency services:

  • Leroy Brooks: “You have a history of trying to back-door things”
  • LB: “I doubt that the City Council authorized their attorney to speak with you about this.”
  • LB: “Meeting with city employees without meeting with county employees is wrong.”
  • LB: “Ken Moore is a smart fellow; I like Ken, but if you throw $50,000 at somebody, he is going to make it work.”
  • LB: “I have not heard that anything is going wrong.”
  • LB: “When county employees hear this propaganda, they get stressed out.”
  • LB: “I have never heard Ralph Billingsley complain.”
  • LB: “If you’re not going to respect Jeff Smith and I, you’re not going to respect anybody.”
  • LB: “Who is Ken Moore going to answer to? The Mayor?”
  • LB: “It’s not sensible to add another layer of bureaucracy.”
  • LB: “You think that you’ve got three votes.”
  • LB: “No one has an iota of respect to speak with our employees.”
  • LB: “Whatever your intent, you disrespected people; more importantly, you disrespected us.”
  • LB: “Since day one, you have had a problem with Emergency Services.”
  • LB: “It’s almost like you had a hit list.”
  • LB: “I don’t trust you for anything.”
  • LB: “How are you going to serve two masters (referring to Ken Moore having to answer to both the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors)?”
  • LB: “We ought not do business like this.”
  • LB: “Don’t worry about a fire truck going here or there; this is a smoke screen.”
  • LB: “Your intent is not honorable.”
  • Jeff Smith: “Everyone in this room brings something to the table.”
  • Harry Sanders: “I want to make something explicitly clear [speaking to Jeff Smith] – I told you that I was going to see the mayor. I didn’t say anything to Leroy because I knew he was going to be opposed to any consolidation. I didn’t want to tell Leroy about it until I had figured out if it was possible, because I didn’t want Leroy attacking me. I said to the mayor: ‘Mr. Mayor, don’t jump the gun and tell all of your folks…Leroy has been trying to torpedo this thing.'”
  • LB: “You’re not one of my favorite people. You’re very deceitful. You enjoy hurting people. I have watched people whose lives you have destroyed.”
  • LB: “You’re not man enough to beat me. You seem to have an obsession with Leroy Brooks.”
  • LB: “Leave me alone. I have given you one fair warning. This is the second one.”
  • LB: “I’ve got a notebook on him (HS).”
  • LB: “If I stay here another 20 years, I will never trust you.”
  • JS: “I want to move Lowndes County forward. I want to serve the people of Lowndes County.”
  • LB: “I volunteer to put together a committee.”

[Key: LB = Leroy Brooks; HS = Harry Sanders; JS = Jeff Smith]

So there you go – boys and girls – it is personal and it will always be personal. The county is just one big small town and everyone has information on everyone. Leroy doesn’t need a notebook on Harry. Everyone already knows everyone’s business. That includes Harry, Leroy and Ken Moore. If they believe otherwise they are incompetent and should resign their posts immediately, because only a fool would believe that the world can’t see what is done in broad daylight. Even if you do sneak in the back door.

The August 6, 2012 Board of Supervisors meeting was tame compared to last week’s fireworks but, all the same, Harry did bring the incident up at the end of the meeting. When discussing Jeff Smith’s concerns about a local road, Harry was quick to point out the Smith had talked to other officials about the project and felt that he had been “jumped on” at the last meeting.

To Leroy’s credit he did not bite; however, he did offer the board an opportunity to draw up a proposal on such matters. Harry balked and claimed it was a violation of his rights to stop him from speaking to other government officials. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and the meeting was adjourned.

As Leroy said, “I am drained from the last meeting.”  Aren’t we all?

Joseph B. St. John

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One Comment on “Monday Morning Water Cooler Talk for August 13, 2012”

  1. charles divel Says:

    Well said. Leroy should look in the mirror at thje foolish decitful things he has done. Especially wasting or spending taxpayers money on himself. If you get a chjance Joe ask him and Harry about the sale of GTRH the county owned hospital. They were considering the price offered, but they anounced a public meeting to be held first to get public input. Next day before any meeting the deal was closed. Sound like a kickback to you? Smell like some rats?


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