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Lawmaker Wants To Beef Up Boards at Gulfport Port, DMR

By Evelina Burnett | Published 06 Jan 2014 06:00am | comments
The Port of Gulfport (photo by Evelina Burnett)

Mississippi lawmakers are back in session tomorrow, and one coast senator says he has a plan to beef up oversight at some state agencies.

State Senator Brice Wiggins, chair of the Mississippi senate committee on ports and marine resources, says he plans to introduce legislation that would expand and restructure the governing board of the Port of Gulfport. The state port is in the middle of an almost $600 million expansion project that has drawn criticism for its slow progress and inability so far to create the number of jobs promised. Wiggins says the changes are modeled on ports in other states.

Wiggins, a Republican from Pascagoula, says he hopes to introduce similar changes to the commission that oversees the Department of Marine Resources, whose previous director and other former employees are facing charges of fraud and embezzlement.

Wiggins says the problems stem in part from the millions of dollars that suddenly flowed into both agencies over the past decade.

State Representative David Baria, a Democrat from Bay St. Louis, says he agrees with the idea that board members should bring experience to the job.

Lawmakers will gavel in the 2014 session at noon Tuesday.

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The Port of Gulfport (photo by Evelina Burnett)


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