By CARL SMITH
Incoming Oktibbeha County Supervisors John Montgomery and Joe Williams joined 116 first-term county representatives from across the state Tuesday and Wednesday in Jackson for an orientation and training session. The two-day session was held by the Mississippi Association of Supervisors and the Center for Governmental Training and Technology, a unit within the Enterprise and Community Resource Development area of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
The orientation served as a “primer to give county supervisors a basic understanding of county government and its essential operations,” Sumner Davis, Center for Governmental Training and Technology interim leader, said in a release.
Both Montgomery, the county’s incoming District 1 supervisor, and Williams, District 5 supervisor-elect, have attended board of supervisors meetings since the November general election. Williams said the Jackson sessions offered insight on issues from ethics to how far gravel can extend from county roads to private property.
“We learned about the policies and procedures we have to follow as supervisors and about what state government expects from us. There were a lot of surprises, but the meeting covered the things we need to keep in mind as we go forward as supervisors,” Williams said. “It was a very meaningful experience, especially sharing fellowship with other incoming supervisors who will also begin their first term in January.”
Williams and Montgomery were also joined on the trip by County Administrator Don Posey. The duo met with Posey earlier this month to begin in-house training and learn their new roles. Montgomery said having Posey’s and the county’s three other incumbent supervisors’ experience to fall back upon will be beneficial during this transition.
“It’s very beneficial to develop a supervisor-to-supervisor rapport. I’ve been coming to the board meetings because I feel it’s important to get up to speed on county issues. As a supervisor, I will work directly for the citizens of Oktibbeha County,” Montgomery said. “During Don’s meeting, he gave us a lot of things which are really the groundwork for becoming a supervisor. We began to learn then what it really means to be a county supervisor.”
Montgomery said he is anxious to take the next step and assume the role of supervisor. He also commended outgoing District 1 Supervisor Carl Clardy for his service to Oktibbeha County.
“I want to commend Carl for the years he served District 1. He did a fine job, and I’d love to learn from his experience,” Montgomery said. “The times I needed him as my supervisor, he was there for me.”
Montgomery and Williams will be sworn in Dec. 29.