Printer, not county, erred on state seal

The new county seal with “In God We Trust” and the old one as it appears on the Justice Center building (left).
Steve Rogers
Staff Writer

A printer’s inadvertent mistake puts the wrong Mississippi state seal on Clay County’s new Justice Center, but it will be replaced by the end of this week, according to the architect on the project.

Meanwhile, the error, which used the old seal that does not contain the words “In God We Trust,” has caused a mild tempest on social media, even though the the county had nothing to do with the emblem or its placement.

“We told the printer to make the state seal a certain size. He went online and searched for Mississippi state seal. He grabbed the first one that came up. He didn’t realize the seal had changed in 2014. I don’t think anyone really thought about it until after it went up and we realized. They are fixing right now and the correct one should be up by the end of the week,” architect Roger Pryor said referring to the Jackson company that handled the sign for Pryor and Morrow architects and Benchmark Construction, the general contractor on the $3.2 million project.

The Legislature adopted a new seal that took effect July 1, 2014, adding the words “In God We Trust” to the bottom of the circle.

“The county didn’t even know about it. This was something we did as part of the design and had made and put up,” Pryor said, referring to the emblem, which was erected April 18 on the front of the building.

“The supervisors didn’t know anything about it. It was just up one day. I realized it when I saw the picture in the paper. County officials didn’t pick it, weren’t asked about it, didn’t design it,” county attorney Angela Turner Ford said of the social media controversy which has tried to point fingers at county leaders.

“This was all handled by the architect and when it was brought to his attention immediately by the county, they started getting it fixed at no cost to the county. I just want to make sure the people of the county know and understand this was not a choice or decision made by supervisors or any other county official,” she added.

Meanwhile, work continues on the renovation of the old Jitney Jungle/Pass It On building into new courtrooms and offices for Justice and Circuit courts. The project, which start almost a year ago, is turning 20,500 square feet of the building into offices and courts with about 6,000 square feet left for future expansion.

Crews are finishing painting, ceilings and other fixtures. Audio and video equipment will be installed in May. Pryor thinks the building will be finished by mid-June.

County leaders are studying whether to try to make the move this summer or hold an open house in July and move in phases. Circuit Court has a major two-week term in July and absentee voting for the August primaries starts in late June. Both make it difficult for Circuit Court to try to move before elections are over in August.

One option is to hold an open house for the public and then start moving Justice Court in Late July and then Circuit Court after that.

County leaders say they are “getting everyone’s ideas together” and “gauging progress” before making a final decision.