No quick pick for Corps post, Flowers says

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 17, 2002

[04/17/02]The chief of engineers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it could be “a while” before someone will be named assistant secretary of the Army for civil works.

Lt. General Robert Flowers, now based in Washington, D.C., was in Vicksburg Tuesday touring local Corps facilities. Flowers talked about the position vacant since Mike Parker was removed from the job March 6.

“Mike Parker’s resignation was a tough, personal blow for me,” Flowers said. “It was a lot of fun for a while to have a Corps advocate as assistant secretary of the Army for civil works.”

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Parker, former U.S. House member from District 4 and Republican runner-up for governor in 1999 voting, was fired by President Bush after Parker criticized Bush’s budget cuts for civil works, including water projects in Mississippi. Bush had appointed Parker to the post and will name a replacement.

Former Gov. Kirk Fordice, a former Vicksburg resident, has been mentioned as a possible pick for the job. Flowers said he expected it would be several months before anyone is confirmed by the Congress.

“I have not had anybody come to me and ask me what I think of this individual and I think that will happen before anyone is confirmed,” Flowers said.

Flowers, former commander of the Mississippi Valley Division, said he has worked with Fordice and would have no problem working with him again.

Fordice, 67, served two terms as Mississippi’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction from 1992 to 2000. He now lives in Madison.

He had been an engineer and owner and operator of a heavy-construction company in Vicksburg for 40 years before seeking election.

“I think if he was appointed and confirmed to that position we’d work well together,” Flowers said.