City fires IT director Tuesday

Published 12:06am Wednesday, April 24, 2013

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez fired its information technology director Tuesday, and the mayor and the former director have differing opinions about the reason.

Mayor Butch Brown said IT director Eric Junkin has not been forthcoming in solving issues with the city’s computer systems. One of the problems, Browns said, is that the laptops purchased for police patrol cars have not yet been installed.

“It’s just a collection of things that should have been done that haven’t been done that are hamstringing the city’s operations,” Brown said.

Junkin was hired in March 2012 by the Natchez Board of Aldermen prior to Brown taking office in July.

Junkin said installing the laptops in the patrol cars is not as easy as just taking them out of the box and installing them in the cars. He said the laptops have to be set up, along with login information for the officers, and the laptops tested.

As a one-man department, Junkin said the laptops’ installation has been delayed because he has been bogged down with running around to the various city departments daily to attend to IT needs.

Junkin chocked up his termination to personality differences with Mayor Butch Brown and City Hall staff.

“I’m very accepted in all the other departments and seen as an asset, but I’m not very well liked in City Hall,” he said.

Brown said he’s seen “discontent” among the City Hall employees with Junkin’s performance.

Junkin said he has attempted to work with City Hall staff on various procedures and ways to streamline their work but has been met with resistance.

Brown also said a “legal” issue related to Junkin’s job was brought to Junkin’s attention Tuesday by City Attorney Hyde Carby.

“He blew up and had some very caustic and nasty things to say to (Carby),” Brown said. “We got concerned because of that they he might violate the security of our system.”

Brown declined to specify the legal issue, saying litigation could be involved.

Junkin said it is an absolute lie that he had any kind of outburst today to what he said is more of an ethical issue, rather than a legal issue. Junkin also declined to specify the issue.

Junkin said he called Carby about the issue, and the two discussed it without any harsh words or outbursts. He said he was assisting a city employee with a computer issue when Police Chief Danny White came to City Hall to escort Junkin out of the building.

“I am not a person to hide anything about an outburst,” Junkin said. “If I pounded my fist on the table and threw a fit … I am the first one to admit … because generally feel like I am justified,” Junkin said.

Brown said since he was out of town, he instructed City Clerk Donnie Holloway to confiscate Junkin’s keys to City Hall.

The mayor will ask the board of aldermen to retroactively approve Junkin’s termination at its next meeting, he said.

Brown said that the city has been interviewing IT director candidates for the past six weeks. He said the position has not been re-advertised, and those interviewed were in the running when Junkin was originally hired.

 

 

  • Milteer.

    It’s about time city employees actually have to work.

  • Anonymous

    There is more to this story……let Eric talk!

  • Anonymous

    #1 Rule working for Butch – “My way or the highway”.

  • Anonymous

    The road to the “glory days of Natchez” are often filled with bumps in the road.

  • Anonymous

    “Brown said since he was out of town, he instructed City Clerk Donnie Holloway to confiscate Junkin’s keys to City Hall.”
    How about the keys to the “backdoors”? That 1 man IT dept. could cripple the whole city if he wanted.
    And, the city has been interviewing for the last 6 weeks, so junkin had to have seen something was up.

  • Anonymous

    Typical Butch Brown. Junkin wasn’t someone that “owed” him and wasn’t someone he could control so out he goes. I’ve done IT work and one man to handle the entire city government is stupid to start with.

  • Anonymous

    I said a year and a half ago that this job was too big for one person. Nothing gets IT folks in more trouble than unreasonable expectations by non-IT people. Ignore the daily “fires” to work on infrastructure and the complaints roll in from users. Pay attention to the daily “fires” and put infrastructure on the back burner and get flak from managers. It appears he was screwed either way.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Sounds like Junkin can win with the Labor Board with back pay also law suits may come from this as well from city officials to individuals!! Sounds as if he was doing his job but had resistance from dead wood in city hall with no help but trying to stay up to speed??!! I believe this isn’t the last of Eric!!!

  • babyblu2001

    Its just not feasible for person to be an entire IT department for an entire city. Obviously, the people hiring and firing and creating departments within City Hall know nothing in regards to Information Systems, what it entails and resources needed in order to have complete efficiency.

  • Anonymous

    The first sentence out of Butch Brown’s mouth is a lie. There is no one better than Eric Junkin in solving issues with computer systems. Second of all, if the city had not sat on the check worth $16,798 for laptops in December from the casino for months without knowing what to do with it and no one asking, the computers in the cop cars would have been installed months earlier. That was not Eric’s fault — he’s the one that had to track down that little piece of paper that had been filed away last December 12th. It was worth $16,798 for laptops for the patrol cars. Fire the person that stashed that check away without asking anyone about it.

  • Anonymous

    Junkin should have been doing facilitation, light install, troubleshooting, new systems design, and training as necessary. Heavy install such as putting computers in police cars should be done by a contractor. I hope the replacement is able to work 24 hours a day to live up to Butch’s expectations. I wish him the best, maybe the county would be more appreciative of his services.

  • Anonymous

    If that is the case, why don’t all the others get fired for not working?

  • Anonymous

    Whenever there is a conflict between a career politician and an IT man — I say ask the INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIST what is really going on.

    I say that after supporting Butch Brown in the last election, and following his career for many years.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    How could you be so weak to support Brown but maybe you had just moved into town and didn’t know better as the rest of us natives huh’??!!

  • Anonymous

    Laptops in the patrol are “light install.” But like he said, he has to program each one, plus put “fires” out when needed. The department heads are not going to be happy.

  • Anonymous

    Unless they plug into the cigarette lighter and sit on the seat, there is more to the install than throwing it through the window as you walk by.

  • Anonymous

    Touchet! I thought he was the better of candidates and his connections for the city would trump the other obvious behavioral issues. It looked to me like the people of Natchez wanted the devil they knew, instead of the devil they didn’t know quite so well. Not about weakness as much as it is a judgement call the whole city made . He just looks trashy handling this like he did — the public discord was just not necessary.

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t he one of your Democrats, huh’?!!

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    I don’t know is he??!!

  • Anonymous

    Jethro – You know he is huh’??!!

  • Anonymous

    Secretly interviewing since they didn’t advertise.

  • Anonymous

    There is a lot of support for Eric. It’s all right here. He really was the best man for the IT position and I was really excited about what he was doing. Bringing all the departments up to the 2013 way of working. Let him talk. more important let’s not let this drop to easily!

  • https://plus.google.com/101785462960818953428/posts Wilson Phillips

    Laptops in patrol cars are not a light install. They are a big job.

  • Anonymous

    We should let him talk. I would be interested to hear what he found. You know he has probably the best idea of how Butch was doing at watching everyone’s dollars.

  • Anonymous

    Also, this same person ordered three computers for city hall without the IT Directors knowledge or consult but with the permission of the mayor. This was done while the IT Director was out of town. Three Computers that were not necessary for the operation of city business and then they demanded that the IT Director set them up for them!

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Lightning , it doesn’t matter one way or the other huh’??!!