Worker finds retirement preferable to commuting

Published 5:00 am Monday, May 11, 2009

When the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parksestablishes its new District Five headquarters in Pike County thisfall, there will be a few new faces on staff.

Cheri Boyte, an administrative assistant at the District Fiveoffice, began planning her retirement when she learned of thedepartment’s forthcoming relocation to McComb. She has worked forthe department since 1974, and will bow out in the coming weeksafter 35 years of service.

“I made a commute to Jackson for eight years when I moved toBrookhaven, and I just didn’t want to make that commute to McComb,”Boyte said. “(Otherwise), I’d have stayed. I wasn’t really exactlyready (to retire).”

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Two other MDWF&P employees in the District Five office areretiring as well, though it is unclear if all three retirements aredue to the office’s relocation. But Boyte said none of the newretirees were ready to call it quits.

And, of course, MDWF&P’s exit from Brookhaven will alsoraise new challenges for Lincoln County’s sportsmen.

The District Five office manages all of the department’s lawenforcement activities for Southwest Mississippi and containsbiologists for both the Bureau of Wildlife and the Bureau ofFisheries. The office also contains a host of educationalmaterial.

Some wildlife services – such as license sales and boatregistration renewals – can be done online or at certain retailoutlets, but others require appearing at a district office.

“There’s always problems,” said Maj. Lane Ball, Southern Regionadministrator. “If you have a problem with your license at Wal-Martor problems getting a boat registered, if you come here to thisoffice, we’ll do it right here. The main benefit of this office forthe people of Lincoln County is for someone to sit down face toface with a law enforcement officer or biologist and talk aboutit.”