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Federal court orders Harper to be reinstalled as county prosecutor

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ken harper
(photo courtesy Warren County)

VICKSBURG, Miss. (Vicksburg Daily News) – In a motion filed on Friday, July 16, United States District Judge Carlton Reeves ordered the Warren County Board of Supervisors to immediately restore Ken Harper to the position of County Prosecuting Attorney.

Harper was elected to the office in November of 2019. In September of 2020, Harper sent a letter of resignation to the Board of Supervisors as a protest against, what he called, a lack of pay for the position. Harper claimed that while he worked full time in his capacity as County Prosecutor, his salary was not increased from that of his predecessor who had served part-time.

Three days later, before the Board had met and formally accepted the resignation, Harper rescinded his letter saying, ““I acted in haste and I regret that decision.”

The Board of Supervisors, after much discussion and seeking an attorney general’s opinion, accepted Harpers resignation in October and appointed Steven McMillian to fill the position until a special election could be held, which was slated for Nov. 2, 2021.

Harper filed suit in federal court in January, charging that there was legal precedent saying he should keep his position as an elected official with property interest in his position.

Judge Reeves agreed and ruled clearly and strongly for Harper saying that the Board’s acceptance of his resignation “is explicitly not the standard provided at common law.”  Judge Reeves then ordered that the Board of Supervisors restore Harper to the position of County Prosecuting Attorney within 10 days.

The attorney for the Warren County Board of Supervisors, Blake Teller, has not responded to requests for comment as of the time of this writing.

Order on Motion for Preliminary Injunction.

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Vicksburg Daily News