City expected to name police chief todayPublished 12:06am Tuesday, July 10, 2012
NATCHEZ — Natchez Mayor Butch Brown said he expects the board of aldermen will end the nine-and-a-half month interim period and appoint a chief of police today.
Brown said the first regularly scheduled meeting of the board since he and alderwoman Sarah Smith took office will be a little longer than an average meeting, and that it will be used to take care of some housecleaning issues like the appointment of a police chief.
The mayor said he believes the board has come to a consensus on the matter of the police chief, a topic that previously led to the walkout of three aldermen when it was brought up and spawned protests outside of City Hall the next day.
“We will handle the police chief appointment for sure,” Brown said. “All of these things have been thoroughly discussed and vetted, and we have only had to wait until our first meeting.”
Two candidates, Rudolph A. Babin, a retired Baton Rouge police captain, and Interim Police Chief Danny White, have applied for the job.
Brown has previously stated that he supports the appointment of White and believes the board will too.
The board will also discuss during its finance meeting the recent $750,000 settlement between the city and Worley Brown LLC, the would-be condo development company whose project on the site of a former pecan factory was stalled and then blocked when the site was designated a Mississippi landmark. The suit against the city, which sold the land to Worley-Brown, was filed in 2007 and settled out of court in late June.
“We have got to discuss the timeliness of how we intend to pay for this, and we have got to discuss the options that are available to us in making that decision,” Brown said.
Brown’s son, Larry Brown Jr., was formerly a partner on Worley-Brown, but sold his share of the company and no longer holds an interest in the case.
“I didn’t want to have to deal with this personally, but the (previous) mayor and board saw fit to pass the ball, at least in part, on this issue,” Butch Brown said.
The mayor said the board would also have to discuss some contractual issues, including if it will renew the current contract it has with Natchez Waterworks for the city’s engineering needs.
Natchez Waterworks Superintendent David Gardner, who in that capacity serves as the city engineer, said he plans to update the mayor and aldermen about a number of ongoing projects — including the municipal transit facility, Natchez Trails Project, North Natchez drainage project, the Bridge of Sighs project and the Daisy Street overlay project — but that he would not take the initiative on the contract discussion.
“(The board) knows that it is our request that they renew the contract, it is up for them to take it up,” Gardner said. “I have already brought it up, and they know where I stand on that.”
“I am not going to push the issue.”
The meeting will begin at 11 a.m. The board’s pre-meeting finance session begins at 9 a.m.