Bryant expected to name new MDA director today

JACKSON — Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to name a new head of the Mississippi Development Authority today. The new leader would replace interim director Jim Barksdale, the former Netscape CEO, who has served as the state’s chief economic developer since January.

Bryant’s choice will likely be the first permanent MDA director since March 2011, when former chief Gray Swoope left to head Florida’s economic development efforts.

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A law passed this year says the state can pay the director up to $180,000, or 150 percent of the governor’s salary. That law also says the director can receive extra pay from outside sources, with no limit. Contributors would be listed on the agency’s web page.

A supplement was paid during Gov. Kirk Fordice’s administration, but not under Ronnie Musgrove or Haley Barbour.

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