Northside Sun - Time for blatant cronyism to come to a stop in Hinds County
It’s high time someone put a stop to the blatant cronyism going on with the Hinds County Board of Supervisors. We call on State Auditor Stacey Pickering and State Attorney General Jim Hood to step up to the plate.
Two clear violations of state law, both reported by this newspaper, have occurred this year. It’s time for these illegal practices to stop.
This week the Sun shows how Hinds County attorney Crystal Martin helped her husband make $475,000 from a county legal settlement.
The settlement was a no-brainer. Motorola was caught benefiting from unauthorized use of Hinds’ radio towers to sell radio services to adjacent counties. A big cash settlement was all but guaranteed. Crystal Martin could have done this work herself as part of her job. Or the work could have been competitively bid.
Instead, Crystal Martin recommended her husband be retained to negotiate the settlement on a 25 percent contingency basis. The board slavishly agreed.
Precious Martin, the husband, said there was no violation of state law because the board hired him, not his wife. Who does he think he’s fooling?
State law 25-4-105 states no public servant shall use his or her position”to obtain, or attempt to obtain, pecuniary benefit for any relative or any business with which he is associated.”
The fact that Crystal Martin recommended her husband to represent the county is a clear violation of her position as county attorney. Elected and appointed officials are not permitted to use their influence for personal gain. Period. No ands. No ifs. No buts.
On another front, the Hinds County Board of Supervisors voted, without competitive bidding, to award a $4 million contract to a start-up company to maintain county radios.
This is a clear violation of state bidding laws. Mississippi Code Section 19-3-69 provides a list of certain professional services that do not have to be bid out. However, maintenance agreements are not included on that list.
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