Stone hired to lead HSUD
Bill Stone is leaving the State Senate after being named the new general manager of the Holly Springs Utility Department.
The board of aldermen voted 5-0 Tuesday night of last week to hire Stone for the full-time position that has been vacant since September 2016.
“It’s an opportunity for me to be at home more and bring some stability to the utility department,” said Stone, who moved to Holly Springs almost four years ago. “There has been a lot of uncertainty since this position opened up. I know most of the folks who work at the utility department. For me, it’s all about knowing the people and how to deal with people, more so than the mechanics of the utility.”
Stone will start his new job July 31. He will step down as senator, a position he has held since 2008, prior to that date. State law forbids a person who exercises core functions in another branch of government from serving in the Legislature. Gov. Phil Bryant will set a date for a special election to fill the Senate District 10 position.
“I have a lot mixed emotions,” said Stone, who also serves as chairman of the Senate Democratic caucus. “The toughest day will be when I go down to Jackson (to the state capitol) and clean my desk out.
“I’m very appreciative to the people for electing me three times. The thing that I have enjoyed the most is being able to help folks when they have a problem with a state agency. It’s something that meant a lot to them and it meant a lot to me to be able to help.”
He said the coming years in the Legislature will be some of the toughest, particularly in regards to the state budget.
Stone said his 10 years in the Legislature, along with his tenure as mayor of Ashland from 2001-2007, will be tremendous assets in his new job of heading up the HSUD. He is also the owner of a real estate business.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for me to help the city, not only in utility matters, but in general legislative issues also,” he said. “I will bring to the table all my contacts in the Legislature. I’m a people person; and for the last 16 years (as a mayor and state senator), I’ve had a lot of experience dealing with the people of this area.”
Stone said his number one goal as general manager is restoring the public confidence in the utility department.
“A lot of things have weakened that, and I see that as my number one job,” he said. “All the other goals I have will supplement the goal of doing that.”
Community meetings have been held in Holly Springs concerning the HSUD and he plans to expand those to the rural areas. The utility department serves a wide area, including Ashland, Slayden, Potts Camp, Red Banks, Laws Hill and even into Tennessee.
“We want to make sure customers not in the City of Holly Springs have the opportunity to ask questions and express concerns,” Stone said. “I want to get out there and meet with the people to talk about utilities and get their input.”
Mayor Kelvin Buck said he is excited about Stone’s appointment as the new general manager of the HSUD.
“His background in utilities management while serving as mayor of Ashland, combined with his experience in business, will serve the city well,” Buck said.
“The people of our community and utility service area know and respect Bill and he knows and respects our community. Bill is known across the State of Mississippi and beyond because of his service as a state senator. His connections will be good for the utility department and for the economic development projects that tie so closely to our utility department’s role in this area.”