County to require credit checks before hiring

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 5, 2010

NATCHEZ — Credit checks will once again be required for any new department heads working for the county.

The board previously voted to disallow credit checks on those in the running for department head positions with the county, but overturned it once again in a 3-2 vote Monday.

Board President Darryl Grennell and District 3 Supervisor Thomas “Boo” Campbell voted against the motion.

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District 2 Supervisor Henry Watts, was the only board member who voted against the previous motion not requiring credit checks, and said the that decision was one of the biggest cases of flip-flopping he has seen in government since he has been involved.

“I don’t think it is right,” he said. “It is not fair to the taxpayer to lower the standards of the department heads.”

Watts said someone who is in charge of millions of dollars of the county’s budget should be responsible with money.

“We need the best we can get,” he said. “We need good quality people with good character, especially if they are in a managerial position.”

Campbell said a credit check should not make or break the decision when interviewing someone for a job.

“If it is of a criminal nature then I understand that,” he said. “But if (General Motors) can get bailed, then an individual on a day-to-day job definitely needs an opportunity too.”

In other news:

4 The board voted to review a proposal from chairman of the Adams County Election Commission, Larry Gardner, concerning the addition of $700 a month and a one-time $1,900 fee for backing up computers and fixing networks at the Youth Court in Natchez.

The current budget for the court stands at $2,220 a month, meaning if it is accepted, it will raise to $2,920.

Gardner said the numbers are just an estimate.

“There may or may not be additional costs beyond that,” he said.

Gardner said the court used to receive grant money to help pay for the costs of the computers, but that has run out.

“Now we have to start supporting the system ourselves,” he said. “They are having PC issues not connected to the mainframe and they are losing data.”

Gardner said the board needs to help pay or the county will be leaving the youth court completely unprotected.

4 The board voted to pass a motion to execute a contract to review legal counsel on a matter of the dam at Robins Lake in Natchez.

The Department of Environmental Quality is mandating that the lake be lowered 17 feet.

District 1 Supervisor Mike Lazarus said lowering the level of the lake is not going to be an easy or cheap task.

Grennell said the county does not own the dam, and that the board needs to work to find out who does own it, and what needs to be done.

“A lot of people’s yards are going to be nothing but mud and they are not going to be happy,” he said.

“We need to turn the mandate over to the property owner of the dam.”