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City dealing with IT problems after firing director

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez has contracted with two information technology specialists to handle the city’s IT needs until it hires an IT director.

The city fired its IT director Eric Junkin Tuesday, and Mayor Butch Brown said Friday that the city has contracted with Ed Bowser and Bowser’s assistant to address any IT issues that come up while the city is looking for a permanent director.

Brown said he made sure prior to Junkin’s termination that the city would be have someone in place to address computer and equipment problems in the interim.

“Before we did anything about Junkin’s termination, we made certain that we had staff in place to handle the security (of the system) primarily first and operational set-ups secondly,” he said.

Bowser and the other IT specialist are both employed elsewhere, Brown said, are providing the city IT assistance on their down time.

“If that doesn’t work, there are companies we can call, and we have people in place (in city departments) that are somewhat skilled in IT,” Brown said.

The Natchez Police Department has had some computer problems this week, but Capt. Tom McGehee said Capt. Scott Frye has been addressing those.

The city hopes, Brown said, to have an IT director in place as soon as possible. The city, he said, is currently interviewing candidates who were in the running for the position last year when Junkin was hired.

The city has not re-advertised the opening for the position, Brown said.

City Attorney Hyde Carby said he has not spoken with the mayor, who has been out of town this week, about whether the city has a legal obligation to advertise the position.

“In the event we need to advertise for the position, we will,” Carby said.