Clerk race draws five contenders

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 9, 2000

Five people are vying this year for a municipal office many voters may not even understand.

Four Democrats and one independent are seeking the office of Natchez’s city clerk, which is being vacated this year by Frances Trosclair, who announced in January she would not seek reelection.

Many of the candidates have said potential voters they encounter aren’t sure what a city clerk does.

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&uot;This is the financial management of the city&uot; is what candidate Donnie Holloway tells voters on the campaign trail. &uot;Making sure laws and regulations are carried out, making sure the money’s being invested, and taking care of day-to-day operations.&uot;

Holloway, business manager for Natchez Ford Lincoln Mercury, is seeking the office along with Democrats Billy Geoghegan, an electronic technician for BellSouth; Peter Rinaldi, publisher of Miss-Lou Magazine; and Fredericka Cain Todd, an educator and businesswoman.

JoeAnne Hicks, a deputy city clerk, qualified to run as an independent.

The city clerk oversees day-to-day finances and budgets, personnel and, every four years, the municipal election process.

According to the Mississippi Code, the duties of city clerk include managing the city’s finances; keeping records of the ordinances and laws passed by the mayor and board of aldermen, as well as records of their actions and proceedings; issuing privilege licenses; and giving a monthly statement of money received by the office to the mayor and board.

This year the city clerk’s campaign was one of the first to get under way, with candidates talking up their qualifications, posting signs around town and buying advertising early.

It was a four-way race even before the first mayoral candidate qualified, and Hicks added her name to the hat on the last day of qualifying.

While many candidates say they are running on their experience — which ranges from holding business degrees to working with budgets in work and community activities — an early issue in the campaign seemed to be how much influence a city clerk candidate can have over the mayor and board of aldermen.

The city clerk does not have a vote in city matters. The six aldermen vote on all issues; if there is a tie it is broken by the mayor.

The primary is May 2, with a runoff May 16. The general election is June 6.