There was an interesting article originally printed in the Albany (Georgia) Herald and reprinted in the Magnolia Gazette on July 7, 2011 by Mac Gordon, the Mississippi House Information Officer. According to his article he’s been a “taxpaying resident in Georgia” for a year or so. His article had some not too flattering representations about Mississippians and particularly conservatives in our great state.
We have obtained an internal Mississippi House of Representatives memo dated June 17, 2011 sent by House Clerk Don Richardson to the House Management Committee.
In the memo, House Clerk Don Richardson notes that the House Management Committee members had requested an explanation about travel expenses noted on a February 2011 spreadsheet in the amount of $3,938.64 and on a March 2011 spreadsheet in the amount of $4,969.20.
The memo states that none of the travel expenses were for House members. The expenses submitted for reimbursement included travel expenses for House Information Officer Mac Gordon “between his home in Georgia and the Capitol.”
Do you get reimbursed for travel from your home to your job?
Gordon has served the House in this capacity since February 1998. He is a former political reporter and editor for the Clarion Ledger. He now lives in Georgia and still opines in local newspapers there, such as the Albany Herald and others, often mentioning the happenings here in Mississippi.
Here’s an excerpt from one of Gordon’s articles in Georgia:
“…Where I am from (Mississippi), it is almost against the law, on your basic Saturday evening, while sitting on the screened back porch and sipping your mint julep, to listen to that liberal Prairie Home Companion show. Many people seem to believe that one may hear music or commentary on that show that could turn you into a card-carrying member of the Communist Party. Most conservatives in my home state live in fear of that possibility. They seem afraid they will wake up some Sunday morning and ol’ Khrushchev will have been reincarnated as the governor of a Southern state…”
And this from the Mississippi House Information Officer?
So the questions come:
Why does the Mississippi House of Representatives employ a House Information Officer that doesn’t live in Mississippi?
Why do we have a House Information Officer writing such derogatory pieces about the state that employs him?
Why hasn’t the House leadership pulled the reigns back on Gordon’s outside activity?
Why does the House allow reimbursement for travel to a home in Georgia to the Capitol for the House Information Officer?
Do other employees of the House receive travel reimbursements for their travel to and from work?
How much money have the taxpayers of Mississippi lost in such out of state travel reimbursements from a home in Georgia to work at the Capitol for the House Information Officer?
It doesn’t matter whether it’s hundreds or thousands of dollars; it’s a matter of principle. Surely there are well qualified and capable Mississippians who can perform the task of the House Information Officer and do so in a manner that better reflects on Mississippi. If not (which I can’t fathom), then residing in Mississippi should be a given if one is employed in this position and an understanding should be reached regarding outside commentary.
This is just one more reason to bring conservative change to the Mississippi House in 2011. It is another example of the fiscal frivolity practiced by the likes of the liberal House leadership under Speaker Billy McCoy and his Democratic team. And you also have to wonder if they endorse Gordon’s remarks about Mississippi in Georgia.