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Commission to express concerns on how grants have been awarded

by Paul Darst

STAFF WRITER

Harrison County commissioners plan to send a letter to Gov. Cecil Underwood's office airing their concerns about the way Community Partnership Grants have recently been awarded.

"The county commission has become increasingly concerned about the way grants have been doled out, especially in this past year," County Commissioner Beth Taylor said Tuesday.

"It's imperative that the county commission, or what ever government body it is, has all the paper work on file."

Partnership grants are intended to help specific organizations but are administered through the county commission. The commission must maintain a complete file on the grant detailing how the money is spent, Taylor said.

Each of those files must begin with a copy of the grant award letter.

"The buck stops here," Taylor said. "It's our responsibility to make sure the I's are dotted and the T's are crossed."

During the past few months, the governor's office has given those letters to the recipient organizations, not the commission. That sometimes makes it more difficult for the commission staff to maintain the files.

Underwood's office said any problems with the way the grants were awarded can be corrected.

"We are unaware of any problem," said Dan Page, Underwood's press secretary. "We haven't had any complaints. It sounds like if there is a problem, it's something that can be addressed."

Staff writer Paul Darst can be reached at 626-1404 or by e-mail at pdarst@exponent-telegram.com.

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