City clerk clarifies duties; defends staff

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The office of city clerk has a multitude of responsibilities. The financial duties have been the recent focus of news stories and commentary.

Clarification of the financial duties of the city clerk’s office is needed to set the record straight. I feel our citizens deserve these details so they have a better understanding of what is really expected from the city clerk.

Let’s break down the financial responsibilities.

Email newsletter signup

An annual audit is required by the State of Mississippi at the end of the past fiscal year, which in this case, ended on Sept. 30, 2014, nine months ago. It is a “historical” confirmation prepared to insure all expenditures were coded properly. It has nothing to do with current or future financial decisions.

True, this historical report has been delayed. Changes in software, personnel, significant technical issues and conversions caused this to happen, but it does not reflect negligence or disregard of duties by any one individual.

By law, the annual audit is completed by an outside accounting firm, not the office of the city clerk. The information and documentation are now in order and the audit should be finalized soon.

More important are two other financial events that presently task the city.

First, the revision of the current fiscal year 2015 city budget is scheduled to take place during the month of July. Revisions proposed by this office submitted to the board of aldermen, in March and again in May, remain to be acted upon by the board. The proposed revisions, though minimal in nature, merely reflect board action on unanticipated salary increases and changes in expenditures. All remain within the budget originally adopted nine months ago. This is a routine process that may occur during a budget year.

Second, the upcoming fiscal year 2016 city budget will be adopted by the board in September, and take effect Oct. 1, 2015. This budget represents projected revenues and expenses for the period ending Sept. 30, 2016. The responsibility of the city clerk’s office is to provide the parameters of what the financial projections will be.

The mayor and board of aldermen will decide the priorities before adopting the budget for the new fiscal year.

Again, the responsibilities and duties of the Office of the City Clerk are numerous and are taken seriously by my staff and me. I am proud of my staff and the work they do. I appreciate the citizens of Natchez allowing me to serve as city clerk for these past 15 years.


Donnie Holloway is Natchez city clerk.