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Bryant Announces 10 State Agency Heads

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 09 Jan 2012 07:22pm | comments
Governor-elect Bryant acknowledges Chris Epps

Governor-elect Phil Bryant will take the oath of office today, becoming Mississippi's 64th governor. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that Bryant announced his appointees to lead 10 state agencies.

Governor-Elect Phil Bryant's appointees include a mix of new faces and directors from the previous administration.

Bryant announced his choice to lead 10 state agencies in Jackson yesterday.

6 agency heads are already in place, among them is Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps.

Epps says Byrant's decision to ask him to stay is an affirmation of his efforts to save the state money.

"Let me mention our recidivism rate. The national average is 52%, ours is 27% over a three year period. And also the inmate cost per day, ours is down to about $41.61," Epps said.

The Bureau of Narcotics, and Departments of Environmental Quality, finance and administration, Marine Resources, and Public safety are all retaining their existing leadership.

4 agencies will have new directors.

Mark Henry, who served as chief of state for Lt. Governor Phil Bryant, has been tapped to lead the Department of Employment Security, at a time when Mississippi is facing double digit unemployment figures.

"I would like to get more employers involved in listing their vacancies with the Department of Employment Security. So we can do a better job of matching Mississippians with jobs," Henry said.

One agency head is returning for second tour of duty.

Robert Latham was the head of the Mississippi Emergency management Agency when hurricane Katrina struck the gulf coast. He retired in 2006, and has agreed to once again serve as MEMA director.

"What we have got to do is build on that individual, family, and community preparedness. Reestablishing our connection with local government to make sure that they know we are here to support them. And we have go to build that capacity at the local level where we can save lives," Latham said.

The Division of Medicaid and Department of Human Services will also be under new leadership.

Bryant is expected to take the oath of office by noon today.

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Governor-elect Bryant acknowledges Chris Epps


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