Ketchings lands house clerk job

Published 12:12 am Thursday, January 26, 2012

JACKSON —  Andrew Ketchings is back in the House of Representatives. For the last three weeks he’s been filling the role of clerk of the House.

The House clerk is the administrative officer for that body. An equivalent position, the secretary of the Senate, exists for the other half of the bicameral legislature.

“Essentially, (as clerk) you supervise the staff, keep up with the budget, basically anything an administrator does,” Ketchings said.

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The two-term representative from Natchez had most recently worked as a member of former governor Haley Barbour’s staff, but in late fall he had moved to a new position in the Department of Banking and Consumer Finance.

However, Ketchings said on Christmas Eve he received a call from the now Speaker of the House Philip Gunn saying Gunn had the votes lined up behind him to secure the speaker’s position, and asking Ketchings if he was willing to be the house clerk.

“The clerk has to be elected by the (house) members, but usually the incoming speaker will pick someone and make a recommendation, and generally the house goes along,” Ketchings said.

While Ketchings said he enjoyed working in the banking and commerce department, “this job is a little more in my experience.”

“Knowing the inner workings of the capitol, for better or worse, gives you a definite advantage.

“I know the majority of the membership, I know the staff very well. I had a pretty good knowledge of the people I am supervising.”

Since the start of the session, Ketchings said he’s been busy, from such tasks as assigning members desks and parking places to coordinating office spaces for various legislative committees.

“Things are really picking up,” he said.

As a member of the legislature from 1996-2004, Ketchings represented the 95th district.

Ketchings will be paid $112,500 a year, approximately $30,000 less than the previous clerk.