Mississippi supervisor claims Black county employees are being targeted in his county

Published 11:06 am Tuesday, October 3, 2023

A Mississippi supervisor claims that Black employees in the county he helps lead are being targeted for wrongdoing.

Adams County District 4 Supervisor Ricky Gray made the claim during the Oct. 2 Adams County Board of Supervisors meeting.

He claimed the state auditor’s office was in town investigating a Black county employee.

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Later, he and District 2 Supervisor Kevin Wilson exchanged words about perceived wrongdoing in county government over the treatment of Black employees differently than white county employees.

During the meeting, Gray did not expound on who is being investigated. However, in comments after the meeting, he claimed Wilson had called the state auditor’s office alleging wrongdoing on behalf of the county’s nurse practitioner Rachel Campbell-Smith.

Campbell-Smith is a full-time, salaried county employee. However, she also operates a private practice clinic on Highland Boulevard in Natchez. Allegations are apparently that although she is drawing the salary and benefits of a full-time employee, she is not working full-time hours for the county.

No one from the state auditor’s office was available to confirm such an investigation is ongoing on Monday.

Wilson denied calling the state auditor on Campbell-Smith. However, he has said openly at supervisors’ meetings and in an opinion column in The Natchez Democrat that he has asked the state auditor’s office to look into the county’s contract with United Infrastructure Services for garbage collection to see if it is on the up and up.

“Kevin Wilson put it in the newspaper that he was going to have the auditors look at the deal, like we have taken a bribe,” Gray said. “I haven’t been contacted by anyone from the auditor’s office. I’ve been here 24 years, and I haven’t done anything wrong.”

Gray said no one called the auditor’s office when white county employees were “stealing time. We dealt with that in executive session. Now, they call the auditor on a Black employee for the same thing. I want fair government for all of our employees. Don’t treat Jimmy no better than you treat Johnny.”

Gray said Wilson is using his position as a county employee “for personal reasons, and that is causing problems. He wants to bring up how many people Metro (Services, the predecessor of United Infrastructure, the county’s garbage collector) owes. What does that have to do with us? He (Wilson) attacked the school district. He attacked Shameca Collins. He attacked Metro. Now is it the Black supervisors that he’s attacking.”

Wilson said Gray is completely off base.

“I did not call the state auditor about Raven Campbell-Smith. That is a fact. And if I had, I would say I had, just like I said publicly I was going to ask the state auditor to look into the garbage deal,” Wilson said. “If you are doing wrong, you are doing wrong. I don’t care if you are white, Black or green. Every time someone says anything about wrongdoing and that person happens to be Black, they call you a racist, and I’m sick of hearing of it.

“It’s very simple. If you are doing right, I don’t have a problem with you. If you are doing wrong, you are wrong. If someone doesn’t begin holding people accountable for doing wrong, I don’t know what is going to happen to our county government, and that’s what I was elected to do.

“I’m not here to fight with the Black community or the white community. Just do the right thing. Do your jobs. I don’t want to see anyone go to jail, but if that’s what’s go to happen, that’s what’s got to happen,” Wilson said.