By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Lamar Hunter, a longtime director of the North Lee County Water Association stepped down this morning, the latest in a string of resignations since a heated meeting Tuesday night.
Hunter’s wife confirmed this morning that her husband quit the board citing health problems aggravated by stress. Hunter himself declined to comment.
He had served since approximately 1994.
His departure comes amid a string of reported scandals that have rocked the association and prompted investigations by at least two state agencies. Allegations include falsifying water samples and forcing employees to work side jobs while on the clock at North Lee.
Hunter’s resignation leaves just three original board directors: President Mitchell Scruggs, and members Wayne Fitzner and Bruce Parker.
Parker, who originally was appointed in April, had stepped down Tuesday but was reappointed in an interim capacity after having won an informal poll. His position on the board had come under scrutiny because he was the eighth member, and association bylaws limit board membership to seven people
Fitzner, who has served two years on the board, and Scruggs, who has served 21, also remain.
They, along with Parker and three other interim directors chosen by association customers last night, are meeting this morning with an attorney and state representatives in an attempt to clean up the association’s problems.
The meeting began at 8 a.m. and was still going as of 11 a.m., according to Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, who attended some of the session.
“They enacted a robust policy for boil-water notices where they will notify customers by phone and publish it in newspaper and on TV, and notify state Department of Health,” Presley said. “They also voted to bring in and ask the Mississippi Rural Water Association to help facilitate maintenance until further issues are resolved. They’ll provide technical assistance to clean up the water and ensure water quality.”
And within the next few days, the board decided, association employees will accompany Public Service Commission investigators to collect water samples and have them tested by the state.
It’s unclear whether the interim board will appoint another interim director to fill Hunter’s vacancy until it can hold a formal election.
Read the fully story in Thursday’s Daily Journal.