Auditor touts his office’s efforts at accountability

Stacey Pickering came to the Neshoba County Fair with a report card on his first seven months as state auditor, chiefly pointing to success with a college intern program and training for public officials.

He also came to endorse Tupelo’s Roger Wicker for U.S Senate, saying Mississippi needs to elect a senator who “reflects our values and stands up for judges like my uncle, Charles Pickering.”

Wicker faces Democrat Ronnie Musgrove in November to serve out the rest of the term vacated by Trent Lott late in 2007.

Pickering, a Republican, said the State Auditor’s Office had lost 105 employees since 2005, so he set out to devise a program to hire college student auditors, give them experience and jobs when they graduate and help them secure master’s degrees.

He also pointed to quarterly meetings between his office and various public officials from state to local governments to help train them about their accountability responsibilities.

He reminded the crowd his agency has recovered $1.2 million this year stolen or misspent by public officials.

And he said he looks forward to the August prosecutions of three Georgia executives and their companies for alleged misdeeds in the failed Mississippi Beef Plant scandal, which he said his office has helped investigate.

Hood takes issue with Barbour prisoner release
Jim Hood, in his second term as attorney general, asked Neshoba’s fairgoers Wednesday to call Gov. Haley Barbour if they disagree with his decision last week to suspend the life sentence of a convicted killer.

Hood was talking about his office’s work and how the U.S. Supreme Court has broken its legal jog-jam to states’ carrying out their death sentences.

It reminded him that last week Barbour pardoned four men convicted in death cases and suspended the sentence of another, his first such actions since becoming governor in 2004.

It’s hard enough to get convictions, but then to have the governor turn some of them out – it needs reconsidering, Democrat Hood said to a largely Republican crowd, which wasn’t quite sure what to do – applaud the death penalty or stick up for their Republican governor.

– Patsy Brumfield, Daily Journal