CVB director’s authority rescinded, board to investigate spending

Published 12:26 am Tuesday, March 1, 2016

NATCHEZ — Kevin Kirby’s authority as Convention and Visitors Bureau Director was rescinded at a CVB board meeting Monday night.

The Natchez Convention and Promotion Commission adopted a resolution Monday to rescind all authority Kirby had to act on behalf of the commission in any capacity, effective immediately.

The resolution also declared the commission’s intention to investigate all matters regarding Kirby’s expenditure of public funds to date.

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Attorney Scott Slover, who attended the meeting to represent the board in legal matters, said the resolution “wasn’t a stripping of power,” but is clarifying what should be standard practice.

“It is an establishment that the director has to get prior approval before binding the board to a contract,” Slover said.

NCPC President David Gammill said the members did not discuss the resolution with Kirby before the meeting.

After adopting the resolution, the board met in executive session to discuss the job performance of an employee, though the board did not disclose which employee. The executive session ended without any action

On Feb. 12, Kirby was asked to leave the building following an alleged heated discussion with another staff member, the commission’s attorney Christina Daugherty said shortly after the incident.

Natchez Mayor Butch Brown, who was not at Monday’s CVB meeting, but said earlier he had requested Gammill and the commission observe a 30-45 day cooling off period before taking any action following that incident.

“And they have not done that,” Brown said Monday. “These people serve at the will and the pleasure of the mayor and board of aldermen. We were going to delve into (problems at the CVB) and take care of them … but we can’t do it while people are actively engaging in meetings and further complicating the issues at hand.”

The commission and the board of aldermen will meet jointly at 4 p.m. Wednesday in council chambers to discuss CVB personnel and finances.

Gammill said he had spoken with the mayor about the requested cooling-off period prior to the Monday’s meeting.

The resolution was adopted Monday, Gammill said, because the necessities of the commission’s finances and fiscal responsibilities did not allow the issue to wait until after Wednesday’s meeting.

“Not to address (the issue) as the commission sees fit would be to not take our responsibilities to task,” Gammill said.

Kirby left the meeting immediately after the resolution was adopted, saying he did not feel well.

The board discussed other financial matters during the meeting, including the credit cards and charge accounts used by CVB employees for business expenses.

Board member Virginia Benoist said she did not know the charge accounts existed.

“Anything that’s a credit card statement that we’re paying, (NCPC board treasurers) Dennis (Switzer) and David (Gammill) need to see the underlying receipts just to verify,” Benoist said. “It’s a getting prior approval from commission issue.”


Vershal Hogan contributed to this report.