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HCDC Critic Appointed to Commission

By Keith Burton – GulfCoastNews.com - Filed 11/22/04

Long a critic of the Harrison County Development Commission, Henry “Tut” Kinney was appointed Monday (11/22/04) to serve on the board of the troubled agency.

Kinney, who is a Pass Christian resident and an attorney who practices law in New Orleans, was appointed by District 5 Supervisor Connie Rockco and approved by the Harrison County Board of Supervisors.

“I am very pleased that Supervisor Rockco had the confidence to choose me,” Kinney told GCN in a telephone interview.

“I plan to work for a wide ranging reforms on the commission and will focus on real economic development and not real estate development,” Kinney said.

Kinney and the HCDC have been in a running battle over his concerns that the agency was poorly administered and operated improperly. The battle even resulted in a lawsuit filed by the HCDC to block Kinney from obtaining commission records. Kinney won that lawsuit earlier this year.

Kinney was also critical of what he felt were improper meetings by the HCDC board of directors.

“I hope there will never be another improperly closed meeting,” Kinney said.

Kinney’s troubles with the HCDC over obtaining records have not ended. He filed an Open Records lawsuit against the HCDC just this past month that has yet to be resolved. Kinney says that his appointment to the board will not affect that case.

“There will be a firewall between that lawsuit and my work with the HCDC,” Kinney said. Kinney is drafting a letter regarding how that will work to the HCDC’s attorneys.

Kinney’s appointment by Supervisor Rockco fills a seat that has been empty since October a year ago when former Commissioner Dr. Paige Gutierrez resigned citing concerns over irregularities at the HCDC (See GCN’s Slippery Business Archive).

Kinney tells GCN that he did not seek to be on the board of directors, but he says that Connie Rockco and Supervisor Marlin Ladner should be praised for their efforts to see reforms come to the troubled agency.

As to whether Kinney’s work in New Orleans will keep him from attending meetings, Kinney says it will not be a problem.

“I would not have accepted the appointment if I could not attend the meetings and subcommittee meetings just as frequently as other members of the board, Kenney said.

Kinney’s involvement with the HCDC started a little over four years ago when the commission authorized a noisy rock distribution plant into the Long Beach Industrial Park that became the focus of nearby resident’s ire over the noise and dust.

The HCDC is currently looking for a new director and deputy director.

Related Information:   GCN Slippery Business Archive

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