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Questions Arise Over Director's Contract with the Harrison County Development Commission
Harrison County Orders HCDC to Produce Director's Contract, and Budget. Meanwhile, Louisiana News Media Reports on HCDC Controversies

by Keith Burton - GCN      Filed 6/23/04 updated

Some interesting developments regarding the Harrison County Development Commission and its director, Michael Olivier, over whether the county has an official contract with him. Meanwhile, Louisiana's governor is announcing her decision today to hire Olivier to that state's highest economic development post.

In a document obtained by GulfCoastNews.com, the Harrison County Board of Supervisors have ordered the Harrison County Development Commission to produce a contract for the Director of the Harrison County Development Commission, as well as other documents.

The request was made in a letter to Elmer Williams dated June 15, 2004, the current President of the HCDC, by Supervisor Bobby Eleuterius, president of the Board of Supervisors. The letter orders the documents to be produced by June 28.

The letter indicates that the HCDC Director Michael Olivier may not have an official contract with the county.

Quoting the letter:

"The minutes of the current Board of Supervisors do not reflect a recommendation to the Board from the Development Commission with regard to the employment of the executive director of the Development Commission, nor do they reflect the current Board's approval of the employment of the Executive Director," reads the letter.

The letter also orders the HCDC to provide the latest employment contract and in the event that no written contract exist, the HCDC is to provide; "a copy of the minutes indicating his employment and the terms of same."

The letter also asks for a copy of the HCDC's operating budget for 2003-2004. County sources tell GCN that the Board of Supervisors have also not formally approved the HCDC's budget for the current operating year, something that should have happened months ago.

Contract or no contract, Olivier's job future will be - in Louisiana.

The news of HCDC Director Michael Olivier's selection for the top post as Louisiana's economic director is heating up that state's news media, which have picked-up on the coverage of the HCDC by GulfCoastNews.com. (see links below)

Louisiana reporters tell GCN that they were unaware of the controversies surrounding the HCDC until they read reports on GCN while researching material on the appointment of Olivier to that state's top economic post.

The New Orleans Times Picayune today carries a story on Olivier's selection for the job by Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. The Times Picayune reports that a news conference on Olivier's selection is to be held this afternoon.

The Louisiana legislature recently increased the pay for the post from $125,000 to $250,000 after Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco successfully sought to increase the salary. Olivier had turned down the job earlier at the old salary rate.

According to the Times Picayune, Olivier is to receive a salary of $215,000.


Link to Louisiana Stories
Links to Photographs of Supervisor's Letter to HCDC requesting documents.
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"Slippery Business" series of stories on HCDC - GCN Archive

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