City interviewing deputy clerk candidates

Published 12:09 am Tuesday, May 19, 2015

NATCHEZ — Time is ticking on the last elected city clerk, whose term expires July 2016.

Aldermen voted in August 2014 to change the city clerk’s position from an elected position to an appointed one, suggesting the move would allow the city to have a more skilled person leading the city’s finances.

Despite being just over 13 months from the pending change, Natchez Mayor Butch Brown said he is confident a qualified person will fill current city clerk Donnie Holloway’s shoes.

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“We are currently interviewing candidates for a deputy clerk,” Brown said.

Instead of hiring someone to immediately replace Holloway, Brown said the city is planning to hire a deputy clerk, who would eventually learn the ropes of city bookkeeping and take over city clerk responsibilities.

The Natchez Board of Aldermen, rather than the city, would appoint the deputy clerk.

Once the deputy clerk is chosen, Brown said the person would complete a training course provided through the Mississippi Municipal League.

“We are hoping that we get applicants that will excel in their deputy position so we can have an easy transition into the appointed clerk position,” Brown said.

Ideally, Brown said the city would hire a deputy clerk as soon as possible, so they could train under the current city clerk.

“We want an experienced deputy clerk so that we can have a year under our belts to make sure that person is promotable,” Brown said.

Currently, the city has one city clerk — Holloway — and two deputy clerks, Diane Holland and Pam Patterson.

Holloway has a yearly salary of $50,504 while Holland earns $35,000 and Patterson earns $33,500.

“Our deputy clerks are certified as clerks, but they haven’t completed the hours and the time and bookkeeping skills we need,” Brown said. “We want a higher level of deputy clerk who can learn the Natchez (bookkeeping) system so they can be promoted.”

A few years ago, Brown said the city installed a new program for bookkeeping.

Since beginning to use the new accounting software, Brown said the program was never fully implemented, or accurately used.

Whoever is hired as deputy clerk needs to thoroughly understand how to work the program, Brown said.

“I want someone who has a favorable background who can move quickly in to the bookkeeping mode,” he said.

Brown would not say how many candidates have been interviewed for the position, or when the city would officially bring in a new deputy clerk.