By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Hamp Smith and Ralph David Ritch say they did not seek positions on the state boards they currently serve on to garner political power or wealth.
Ritch laughs when asked how much he makes for serving on the Mississippi Board of Chiropractic Examiners.
“I couldn’t tell you,” said Ritch, who lives in Tupelo but since 1975 has operated a chiropractic clinic in Fulton.
Smith said he serves on the state Board of Contractors representing electrical contractors to help improve the contractor profession in the state and “to safeguard the consumers from unscrupulous contractors.”
Smith, a vice president with JESCO’s mechanical/electrical division, and Ritch were among the 10 Northeast Mississippians confirmed by the state Senate during the 2013 session to serve on the dozens of boards and commissioners that govern various state agencies.
In most instances, the new terms for the nearly 90 Mississippians confirmed during the 2013 session have just started or will begin this summer.
Smith and Ritch were originally appointed to their respective boards by former Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and re-appointed by Republican Haley Barbour. They are being appointed for a third time by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant. Ritch’s new term began in April and will end in April 2018. Smith’s new term will start on July 1 and conclude June 30, 2018.
Other Northeast Mississippians confirmed during the 2013 session are:
• Elizabeth McConnell (Betsey) Hamilton of New Albany for the Board of Trustees of the Department of Archives and History for an unexpired term that will end on Jan. 1, 2016.
• Clayton Wood Wilson of Vardaman to the Board of Animal Health for a four-year term ending July 31, 2017.
• Paul Daniel Gunnoe of Oxford for the Medical Care Advisory Committee for a term that began in April to run concurrently with the governor.
• Mike McBunch of Tupelo to the Board of Barber Examiners for a four-year term ending June 30, 2017.
• John Wesley Campbell Jr. of Starkville to the state Board of Barber Examiners for a four-year term beginning July 1.
• Jess B. Davis of Abbeville to the Veterans Home Purchase Board for a four-year term ending June 30, 2017.
• David Hughes McElreath of Oxford to the Veterans Affairs Board for a five-year term ending May 4, 2018.
• Frank Evans Jr. of Calhoun City to the Board of Optometry for a five-year term ending on June 30, 2018.
With the exception of Hamilton, all of the Northeast Mississippians confirmed in 2013 were nominated by the governor. In some instances, other state officials have appointments to boards. Hamilton was nominated by the Archives and History Board that is given the authority to fill a certain number of its own slots.
In most cases, the boards meet quarterly or even less. Some major boards, such as the Board of Education and Board of Health, often meet every month.
In most cases, members receive $40 per meeting, plus expenses, such as mileage.