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City hires new tech director

NATCHEZ — After nearly a four-month search, the City of Natchez has hired an information technology director. The city also expects to hire a police chief soon.

Mayor Jake Middleton said Eric Junkin of Unique Perspectives Consulting accepted the position Thursday and will start March 15.

Junkin was one of four candidates recommended to the Natchez Board of Aldermen by the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Technology in early February.

The board announced in November that it wanted to hire an IT director to head up what would essentially be a one-person IT department for the city. Middleton said the salary range for the director is salary range is $45,000 to $55,000.

Middleton said he wanted to have an IT director in place earlier in the year, but he said negotiations for the recent amendment to the city’s lease with Magnolia Bluffs Casino developers delayed the hiring process.

Middleton said he will formally announce Junkin as the IT director at the aldermen meeting Tuesday. He said he will be showing Junkin around the various city departments and introducing him to staff today.

The next position scheduled to be filled by the city, Middleton said, is the Natchez Police Department chief. He said he plans to talk to the aldermen at their meeting Tuesday to set up interviews with the three remaining police chief candidates soon.

Middleton said all of the candidates are nearby, which he said should help make the interview process relatively quick.

Natchez Interim Police Chief Danny White is currently heading up the department and has said he is one of the remaining candidates. Middleton would not release the names of the other two candidates because he said it could jeopardize their current jobs.

The aldermen have been searching for a police chief since asking former chief Mike Mullins to retire early in November. He had originally planned to retire in June or when the city found a new chief.

The Civil Service Commission reviewed the 12 applications for chief that were submitted in December and narrowed the candidates down to three in mid-January.

Middleton initially said he wanted to hire a new chief at the end of January but said casino lease negotiations also slowed the process.

“With all the candidates being nearby, I think we’ll be able to wrap up the interview process pretty quickly and get a new chief hired soon,” he said.