1997 Regular Session

To: Agriculture; Fees, Salaries and Administration

By: Senator(s) Posey

Senate Bill 2357

(As Sent to Governor)



SECTION 1. Section 69-27-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

69-27-33. The governing body of the district shall consist of five (5) commissioners, elected or appointed as provided hereinabove. The commissioners shall be persons who are landowners and/or operators within the geographical areas of the district qualified to perform the specialized skilled services which will be required of them in the performance of their duties hereunder, and able to attend all meetings.

The commissioners shall designate a chairman annually. The term of office of each commissioner shall be three (3) years, except that the commissioners who are first appointed shall be designated to serve for terms of one (1) and two (2) years, respectively, from the date of their appointment. A commissioner shall hold office until his successor has been elected or appointed and has qualified. Vacancies shall be filled by election or appointment as in the case of the election or appointment of other commissioners, but in the event the unexpired terms remaining of the offices vacated are less than one (1) year, said vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term by the other commissioners. The selection of successors for a full term shall be made in the same manner in which the original retiring commissioners shall, respectively, have been selected. A majority of the commissioners shall constitute a quorum and the concurrence of a majority in any matter within their duties shall be required for its determination. A commissioner and any deputy commissioner shall receive no compensation for their services, but they shall be entitled to expenses, including travelling expenses, necessarily incurred in the discharge of their duties.

The commissioners may utilize the services of the county agricultural agents and the facilities of the county agricultural agents' offices insofar as practicable and feasible, and may, with the approval of the State Soil and Water Conservation Commission employ such other help as may be necessary. Employees hired pursuant to this section shall be considered as employees of the county or counties in which the district is located solely for the purpose of allowing such county or counties to include these employees in any group life and/or health insurance or workers' compensation insurance program maintained by the county or counties for its employees. If more than one (1) county desires to include these employees in a group life and/or health insurance or workers' compensation insurance program, the counties shall determine the program in which the employees shall be included and the amount of contributions that the other county or counties shall make to that program on behalf of the employees. Nothing in this section shall be construed to mean that these employees are to be considered as county employees for any purpose other than the purpose of including these employees in a county employee group life and/or health insurance or workers' compensation insurance program. The commissioners may call upon the Attorney General of the state for such legal services as they may require, or may use such other legal counsel as may be available. The commissioners may delegate to their chairman, to one or more commissioners, or to one or more agents, or employees, such powers and duties as they may deem proper, and may appoint such deputy commissioners as they deem appropriate, not to exceed one (1) deputy commissioner for each supervisor district in the soil and water conservation district, to assist the commissioners in the performance of their duties; however, deputy commissioners shall not be entitled to vote on any matter coming before the commissioners. The State Soil and Water Conservation Commission shall establish and administer qualification standards and establish term of office for deputy commissioners. The commissioners shall furnish to the State Soil and Water Conservation Commission, upon request, copies of such ordinances, rules, regulations, orders, contracts, forms and other documents as they shall adopt or employ, and such other information concerning their activities as it may require in the performance of its duties under this article.

The commissioners may provide for the execution of surety bonds for all employees and officers who shall be entrusted with funds or property; shall provide for the keeping of a full and accurate record of all proceedings and of all resolutions, regulations and orders issued or adopted; and shall provide for an annual audit of the accounts of receipts and disbursements if total annual receipts or expenditures exceeds Sixty Thousand Dollars ($60,000.00) and an annual financial statement if total annual receipts or expenditures is equal to or less than Sixty Thousand Dollars ($60,000.00).

The commissioners may invite the legislative body of any municipality or county located near the territory comprised within the district to designate a representative to advise and consult with the commissioners of the district on all questions of program and policy which may affect the property, water supply, or other interests of such municipality or county.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.