Forrest County sees change in legal representation

FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Forrest County Board of Supervisors joined a new insurance trust in April which also brings new legal counsel to the county.

Counties who have joined the Mississippi Association of Supervisors Insurance Trust (MASIT) have been appointed an attorney by the association. Brookhaven attorney Will Allen will represent counties in the southern part of the state, and a separate attorney will represent the northern half.

"For the most part, the Allen firm will be representing Forrest County moving forward on most of the cases that will be filed," said Forrest County Board of Supervisors president David Hogan. "We're excited about the trust and hope it does well."

This change means that local attorney Jim Dukes, who has represented the county for many years in multiple cases, no longer served in that role as of April 1, 2014. Hogan said prior to joining MASIT, Dukes was approved as the county's attorney through Traveler's Insurance.

However, the sheriff's department is still allowed to choose their own legal counsel, despite the overall changes for the county.

"When the sheriff deems necessary to add additional attorneys besides the Allen group, then he'll have the flexibility to do that when he so chooses," said Hogan, referencing the state law that allows this for all county sheriff departments.

Hogan said joining MASIT will save county taxpayers approximately 100,000 dollars in legal fees.

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