By Emily Le Coz
TUPELO – Longtime North Lee County Water Association Board President Mitchell Scruggs resigned today, saying in a two-page letter that he wants to protect the utility from further media assault.
Scruggs is the fifth person to step down from the board since last week. He had served 21 years.
In his letter, Scruggs said he hoped his resignation would stop “the continuing unfair coverage which I and the Association have received from the Daily Journal and the involvement of Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, which has and will continue to cause confusion in connection with the day to day management of the Association’s business.”
The Daily Journal has published a series of stories about the association since Sept. 30 that highlighted allegations of misconduct on the part of senior management. It also reported allegations of falsifying time cards and water testing.
Stories relied on employee testimony and records obtained by the Daily Journal, as well as on interviews with those accused.
Many of the allegations are under review by a private attorney and accountant, hired by the board, as well as by the state Public Service Commission and state Department of Health.
Presley also said the state Attorney General’s Office is looking into the claims, but the agency wouldn’t confirm or deny that.
And U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is aware of the situation but will not comment, said spokeswoman Dawn Harris.
Scruggs went on to say the association’s water has been proven safe, that the organization is a private nonprofit and not subject to open meeting and public record laws, and that it has received high technical and financial ratings from the state.
He said the Daily Journal hasn’t given both sides fair coverage.
And he criticized Presley’s handling of the affair, accusing him of trying to run the association without any legal authority to do so.
Read the full story in Wednesday’s Daily Journal.