Supervisors appoint Bryson to District 5 post
Pannell named East Post constable
By Jane Hill
NEW ALBANY – James Bryson, a teacher for 33 years, spent Tuesday learning the ropes of his new job.
Bryson, a lifetime resident of Union County’s District 5, studied the ins and outs of being a county supervisor with the help of District 1 Supervisor James Byers. Bryson was appointed Monday to the District 5 post left vacant when supervisor-elect Lynn Watson died of heart failure in December.
Supervisors also appointed New Albany Light, Gas & Water dispatcher Michael R. “Mike” Pannell as the East Post constable.
After weeks of considering the applications of numerous candidates, the board settled on Bryson, a lifetime educator and recent candidate for the state Senate District 3 post.
Bryson’s showing in that election – he won all the precinct boxes in Union County’s District 5 – probably influenced the supervisors’ decision to choose him.
The former New Albany City School District superintendent said he and Byers spent the day examining the county shop, meeting county employees and going over the District 5 inventory.
“I am discovering that county government is a much more complicated mechanism than I first supposed,” Bryson said. “The responsibilities of the supervisor are almost overwhelming. The post deals with both the legislative and administrative branch of local government.”
Serving the community
Bryson, 58, is currently a resident of the Jericho-Alpine community in eastern Union County. He retired from the public school system in 1992. In addition to serving as the New Albany superintendent for 18 years, he also taught at Blue Mountain College and as an adjunct professor at the University of Mississippi’s Graduate School. Bryson has also served as an appointee to the State Parole Board, representing Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District.
Most recently, Bryson served as a student hearing officer for the Tupelo Public School District. He is married to the former Annette Miles of Corinth. The Brysons have three sons and two granddaughters.
“I don’t think I will ever really retire,” he said. “I always would like to be doing something in the service of the community.”
Though he made no promises to the supervisors about running for the District 5 post in a special election to be held in November, Bryson said at this point he has no intention of campaigning for the position.
The annual salary for a Union County supervisor, which is based on the county’s population, is $25,212.
Bryson said the feedback he has received from District 5 residents has been positive thus far, and he hopes to meet more people of the district in the coming weeks.
“Though Union County is on the county unit system, the people in the rural parts of the county still expect to see and speak to their supervisor.”
Constable post filled
Pannell said Tuesday that he was pleased with the supervisors’ decision to ask him to fill the constable’s post for the eastern half of Union County.
Pannell will fill the post vacated by James “Bing” Wildman, who ran unopposed for the post in the recent county elections. Wildman resigned the office because of a recent ruling by the Mississippi State Ethics Commission regarding local law enforcement officers also serving as constables.
Wildman earlier agreed to be a deputy for newly elected Union County Sheriff Joe Bryant and therefore decided not to keep the constable’s post.
Pannell, 43, is a resident of the Ellistown community and is married to Inita Herring Pannell. The couple has two sons.
Pannell ran in the 1995 county elections for the coroner’s post, is a farmer and a dispatcher for the city. He said he plans to keep his city job while fulfilling the duties of constable.
Constable is a fee-paid position. The amount a constable earns is based on how many papers he serves.