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Dist. Two leader to serve out sixth term, but not seek re-election
By RUSSELL TURNER
One of the longest-ever serving members of the Greene County Board of Supervisors, and the only African American to earn a seat on the county’s governing body, confirmed Monday that he will not be seeking a seventh term in office.
William M. ‘Morris’ Hill advised fellow board members of his decision on Monday. He also delivered letters to county election officials notifying them of his decision.
“I have decided I am withdrawing from the election and will not seek another term,” Hill said during the supervisors’ regular June meeting. “I love working with you guys and wish everyone well moving forward.”
Hill, who has represented Dist. Two on the board of supervisors since Jan. 2, 1996, will fulfill this term and serve until a newly-elected supervisor takes office this coming January. He told the Herald there was no single issue that prompted his decision, but after a lot of contemplation simply felt it was time for him to move aside and allow new leadership to step up for his district and the county.
Hill, who said he’s proud of the accomplishments during his tenure as supervisor, added that while he was stepping away from political office, he planned to remain active in the community.
“I will stay busy,” Hill said Monday afternoon. “There will be a lot of room for volunteer work and pursuing other interests.”
“I plan to remain active and hope the county will fare well on its future endeavors as well.”
Hill said there were numerous projects and successes for him and the county over the course of his 23 years in office. He remembers one of his first acts in office was to build a boat ramp on the Chickasawhay River at the bridge on Old Avera Road near Knobtown. He said the boat ramp needs some work done to it now after 23 years, but that he was proud to have been able to expand opportunities for residents in his area to enjoy the river.
Hill said he was also proud of the conservative approach he took to manage the district’s funds, while also expanding services and infrastructure. He pointed to the renovation of the dilapidated former State Line School ag building which was saved and converted into a community center as one of the projects that meant the most to him.
As for county-wide projects, Hill said he was pleased to be able to be a part of development of the county’s 911 emergency call system and the re-opening and successful development of Greene County Hospital. He also takes a lot of pride in the development of the Jones College – Greene County Center on Vo-Tech Road.
“I never felt comfortable going to things like football games at the high school knowing that we didn’t have emergency care available if one of those kids were badly hurt,” Hill said. “I am so proud of our hospital now and for what it means to this county it terms of healthcare and economic development.”
“The JCJC campus and tuition assistance program are important for our county as well. I am proud we were able to negotiate to have academic as well as vocational training at the school. With the job training opportunities and ability for dual enrollment for our students, the Jones center is a great asset for our citizens. In general, I think advancements in healthcare and education are the cornerstone achievements county-wide during my years in office.”
Hill doesn’t claim sole responsibility for any of the accomplishments he listed, instead insisting they have all been group efforts.
“It has been extremely gratifying and rewarding for me to work with all the supervisors and other officials that I have had the privilege of serving alongside over the years,” Hill noted. “For the most part, I have been able to have a good working relationships even when we may have disagreed.”
When asked about the changes he has witnessed over the course of his public service career, Hill said there have been many, but one thing stands out and gives him a lot of hope for the future.
“I think people are more receptive to change and growth now,” Hill said. “You just have to communicate the need for change and be committed to working with people to find solutions.”
Hill’s departure from the ballot leaves three people vying to fill his seat at the board. Democrats Dorothy Mimbes-Woods and Oliver Walley will square off in the August Primary with the winner advancing to take on Republican Elton L. Clark in the General Election to be held in November.