Legaux out as Natchez city planner

Published 12:14 am Thursday, July 2, 2015

NATCHEZ — Natchez City Planner Frankie Legaux didn’t plan on living in Natchez for only two years and nine months.

But an offer came up that she simply couldn’t refuse.

“I couldn’t turn it down,” Legaux said of an offer she received in Pearland, Texas.

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The job, Legaux said, entails the same duties she had in Natchez as city planner — but with a higher compensation.

“The decision was completely based on money,” she said.

Legaux’s salary as Natchez city planner was $55,000.

When she joined the city planning office in October 2012, Legaux’s big goals were to revamp the city’s codes and ordinances, and shorten the development process for businesses.

“I’ve had a great time living and working here,” Legaux said.

“And right now, I’m working on leaving the city in a good position for whoever comes next.”

While Natchez is currently without a city planner, Natchez Mayor Butch Brown said Assistant City Planner Riccardo Giani will be the interim city planner.

“We will use him on an interim basis,” Brown said.

“He has great credentials, and I’m confident he’ll do a good job.”

Giani joined the city planning office in March 2014.

“I’m sorry to see a great friend and mentor leave,” Giani said of Legaux. “But I’m excited for the new opportunities ahead, and I believe I can rise to the task to fill the big shoes that are left.”

Brown said he wants to reassess the city’s planning department, and weigh the options of hiring a new city planner, or working with the existing staff to develop a new department makeup.

“While we have this void, we will make sure the services are improved instead of just emulating what’s been done in the past,” Brown said. “I want to be sure that as we move forward, that we tweak the roles of (the existing staff).”

Brown said he doesn’t have a set date yet for when he and the board of aldermen will discuss the possible changes within the city’s planning department.

“We have a good, competent staff,” Brown said. “We’re just going to see if we can tweak it in any way and move on.”

Legaux’s last day as city planner is July 6.

She said she is going to miss Natchez greatly.

“It’s just a really enchanting city,” Legaux said. “The people I’ve worked with have been great — the mayor, the board, everyone. I have nothing but good things to say about this city.”