- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:

Jan. 25

Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss., on state agencies could benefit from Wiggins‘ bold approach

State Sen. Brice Wiggins‘ bold and comprehensive proposal to straighten out the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources should be used as a standard for the state’s more than 200 other agencies, boards, commissions and departments.

“I think everybody realizes there are issues at DMR from the previous regime and we have to get it straight for the future,” said Wiggins, R-Pascagoula. “We don’t need to be micromanaging agencies, but we certainly need to exercise our oversight authority.”

Wiggins is sponsoring Senate Bill 2579, designed to keep the DMR intact, allow timely agency reorganization and improve accountability.

Wiggins, who already has the support of other Coast Republican legislators, should be supported by the entire delegation from South Mississippi as his bill moves through the legislative process.

Some of his recommendations are specific to the DMR. But others could and should be applied to all aspects of state government. Specifically:

An independent annual audit paid for from that agency’s own budget.

Higher standards for those who serve as overseers of the state’s agencies and departments.

One of Wiggins‘ objectives is to ensure the DMR remains an independent agency, rather than being absorbed into the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. That is also a worthwhile goal.

But whether on its own or as part of a larger department, the DMR needs the type of overhaul and oversight contained in Wiggins‘ legislation.

There are other parts of state government that would benefit from just as close an examination and Wiggins has set the standard for such analysis.

Again, this is a bold attempt to bring greater accountability, efficiency and transparency to a state agency that performs important work all along the Coast. We commend Wiggins for his work on this legislation and strongly endorse it.

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