Madison County Supervisor Gerald Steen, a Republican, enthusiastically joined his Democratic colleagues Karl Banks and Paul Griffin in approving U.S. Senate candidate Mike Espy as their Board Attorney.
Just minutes before, Steen was also elected as President of the Board with Banks as Vice President.
Republican Supervisors Trey Baxter and Sheila Jones voted against the appointment of Espy, preferring to keep Katie Snell on for the next year. Snell is Governor Phil Bryant’s daughter.
Steen, in a prepared statement read after the vote, said that his vote for Espy was not a decision based on political or personal philosophy, but on the experience the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate brought to the position having previously served as the Board Attorney for Madison County.
At that time, Steen was reluctant to speak on the possibility of Espy being named Board Attorney. Given how the vote was taken, it was obvious that the decision was made well in advance by Supervisors Steen, Banks and Griffin to approve Espy’s appointment.
As was reported previously, the appointment of Espy as a County Board Attorney during a U.S. Senate campaign challenging Hyde-Smith had several Madison County elected officials on edge. The move will likely hyper-politicize Madison County politics and potentially politicize federal funding for county projects.
Supervisor Baxter expressed to Y’all Politics the concerns he had over whether Espy would have adequate time to properly handle business for Madison County given the upcoming statewide campaign. Espy’s tenure with Madison County, should he win the U.S. Senate race, would be less than a year.
No word has come from the Espy campaign on this appointment as of yet.
U.S. Sen. Hyde-Smith, a Republican and the current officeholder Espy is challenging in 2020, told Y’all Politics last week, “Well, you know, it’s not my job to run Madison County at all, and if he takes the position sincerely, maybe he wouldn’t be my opponent.”