Aldermen approve changing city clerk to appointed position
NATCHEZ — The Natchez Board of Aldermen voted Tuesday to amend the city’s charter to make the city clerk’s position appointed rather than elected.
The idea was proposed a little over a year ago, and Monday City Attorney Hyde Carby brought the prepared amendment to the aldermen. The amendment passed unanimously.
The previously stated reasoning for changing the position from elected to appointed was so the aldermen can hold the clerk more accountable and set higher standards — including accounting and municipal finance experience — for the clerk.
While the board had in the past discussed changing the municipal judge’s position to an appointed one, as well, the amendment adopted Tuesday did not address the judge’s seat.
“The clerk has announced his retirement, so it is a good time and timely to do this,” Mayor Butch Brown said.
“With the judge, I think we need to give him the courtesy again of a conversation.”
City Clerk Donny Holloway has said he does not plan to run for the clerk’s office in 2016.
Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis said she wanted Carby to bring a similar amendment for judge before the aldermen well in advance of the 2016 elections.
Carby said the charter amendment will have to be published in the city journal for three weeks. During the three weeks of advertising, if one-tenth of the qualified electors in the city file a protest, the matter will have to go to a special election.
With the advertising of the amendment, the proposal will be sent to the governor and the state attorney general.
“Once the attorney general and governor bless it, it will be brought here and put on the books,” Carby said.
In other news, the board voted to seek proposals for engineering services for the city at Arceneaux-Mathis’ suggestion.
The city has contracted with Natchez Water Works for engineering services for some time, but City Engineer David Gardner — who is a Water Works employee — has in the past proposed the city move away from the arrangement.
“I think it is time for us to move on with engineering and put something in place,” Alderman Mark Fortenbery said.
Natchez Water Works is a city entity, but is governed by a separate board of commissioners.