Alcorn County places purchase clerk on leave

county_alcorn_greenBy Lena Mitchell

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH – Alcorn County purchase clerk William “Paul” Rhodes was placed on indefinite administrative leave with pay this week by the Board of Supervisors.

The board met Monday in executive session after its regular meeting to consider action with regard to Rhodes, who was arrested last week and charged with hindering prosecution in the first degree, a class 1 felony.

The charge is related to an ongoing investigation by the state auditor’s office concerning public corruption in the county.

Rhodes was charged Thursday with hindering an investigation after representatives of the state auditor’s office allege he shared documents with an elected official who is being investigated for embezzlement.

During an unofficial information meeting before the Alcorn County Board of Supervisors, State Auditor Stacey Pickering said during the investigation, which has been ongoing since December, Rhodes, 54, went through investigation files, copied documents and shared them with Alcorn County District 2 Supervisor Jimmy Dal Nelms.

The affidavit charging Rhodes reveals the auditor’s office has been investigating Rhodes and Nelms, along with several Alcorn County vendors, for their alleged involvement in a conspiracy “designed to embezzle and/or convert money, equipment and property from Alcorn County,” since December.

A hearing for Rhodes is set for Sept. 17, and county attorney Bill Davis said the board will review its decision once the outcome of the hearing is known.

Deputy purchase clerk Jill Goodwin and accounts payable clerk Debbie King will assume most duties of the office in Rhodes’ absence.

lena.mitchell@journalinc.com

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J.B. Clark contributed to this report.