Davis leaves Parole Board to work for Hosemann



JACKSON (AP) — Doug Davis is leaving as head of the Mississippi Parole Board to become chief of staff for Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

Steve Pickett is moving up to become chairman of the five-member Parole Board, starting Oct. 16.

And, Gov. Phil Bryant is nominating a longtime Pearl police officer, Butch Townsend, to serve on the Parole Board in the seat Pickett held. Townsend will retire from the police department, where he has served 25 years. He is a former chief of the department and worked in the crime investigations division and the juvenile division. He has been the department’s public information officer since 2009.

“Butch’s seasoned law enforcement background and training will be instrumental to the board,” Bryant said in a news release Thursday.

Townsend’s nomination requires confirmation by the state Senate. It’s not unusual for nominees to serve several months while they wait for confirmation. The Legislature is out of session now, and is set to meet from early January until early April.

Davis, a Republican, served seven years as a state senator from DeSoto County before losing a bid for re-election in 2011. During part of his time in the Senate, he was Appropriations Committee chairman under Bryant, who was then lieutenant governor.

Bryant appointed Davis as a member of the Parole Board this past January and as chairman in July. He begins work Oct. 15 at the secretary of state’s office. His salary will be $85,635.

The Department of Corrections on Thursday would not release salary information about the Parole Board.

Diane Hawks recently retired as Hosemann’s chief of staff.

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