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State taking closer look at hundreds of boards, commissions

JACKSON — Mississippi has 204 boards and commissions comprised of more than 1,600 members who oversee various state agencies and quasi-state agencies, according to Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

Hosemann said it is important to learn whether boards and commissions are delivering efficient, timely services to their constituents. He said accountability is the key.

“If the right governance structure is in place, a lot of the other things take care of themselves,” Hosemann told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

Hosemann is turning the information and various other nuggets about the state’s boards and commissions over to Gov. Phil Bryant. In his inaugural address in January 2012, Bryant asked Hosemann to research boards and commissions with an eye toward merging or eliminating some of them.

“We’re a research arm for the governor on this particular issue,” said Hosemann. “Clearly any structural changes (regarding the boards and commissions) would come from the governor’s office.”

Bryant spokesman Mick Bullock said he stood by a statement he made earlier this year that “Gov. Bryant continues to work with Secretary Hosemann and plans to make recommended changes in the 2014 legislative session.”

Hosemann tries to list all the boards and commissions in the Blue Book, which is published every four years to provide the latest information on state and local government and statistical data on the state.

He said the structure of boards and commissions varies greatly.

Hosemann said the boards and commissions have exploded since the mid-1980s when then-Attorney General Bill Allain prevailed in a lawsuit that removed legislators from serving on governing boards because of the state constitution’s separation of powers.

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Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

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