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City close to hiring new accountant

NATCHEZ — The search for an accountant for the city clerk’s office could be over by the end of this month.

Mayor Butch Brown said the city has narrowed its pool of applicants to approximately 12 to 14. He said the city would prefer a certified public accountant and also wants someone with a governmental accounting background.

It is also imperative, Brown said, that the accountant be able to efficiently use the city’s accounting software, which the city has struggled with implementing.

“We want someone who will take us to the next level in good, modern-day, technology-based accounting,” Brown said.

The city is creating the accountant position, Brown said, because the city’s accounting procedures are not up-to-date with technology.

“Technology has changed, reporting procedures have changed and the need for faster, more accurate information is here,” Brown said. “The city has been slow to provide those kinds of services so that city leaders and taxpayers have accurate, up-to-date accounting for all aspects of the costs of government.”

Along with City Clerk Donnie Holloway and Human Resources Director Brenda Cantu, the city’s independent auditor, Deanne Tanksley with The Gillon Group, is sitting in on the interviews, Brown said, and providing input on what the city needs in an accountant.

“She understands the city books, and she has a working knowledge of governmental accounting, which is a complicated thing,” Brown said. “She is able to interpret to our applicants what our challenges are with accounting.”

Brown said Tanksley is also very familiar with the city clerk’s office personnel and can provide direction to the new accountant on the daily routine of managing the city’s books.

The new accountant, Brown said, will work closely with staff that handles permits, accounts payable and receivable and will be in charge of bookkeeping.

The city, Brown said, wants someone that will ensure the city’s books are kept accurate and up-to-date.

“We need someone that is forceful and will be demanding of prompt and adequate data,” he said.

Brown and the Natchez Board of Aldermen, he said, will decide who the city will hire as an accountant.

Brown declined to divulge the salary range for the accountant position, saying he did not want that number public during salary negotiations.

The city will soon begin interviewing applicants, and Brown said he hopes to have the new accountant hired by the end of the month.