Natchez city clerk terminated

Published 12:26 am Tuesday, August 2, 2016

NATCHEZ — Exactly one month after hiring its first appointed city clerk, the City of Natchez is without a city clerk.

Former city clerk Wendy McClain was terminated Monday for violation of city policy, Mayor Darryl Grennell said Monday evening following a specially called meeting regarding the matter.

Grennell and the Natchez Board of Aldermen met behind closed-doors in executive session about McClain’s departure, under the personnel exception of the Open Meetings Act.

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Adams County Board of Supervisors Attorney Scott Slover provided legal counsel for the meeting. Slover is serving as counsel for the city until it resolves the appointment of a city attorney.

At the advice of Slover, Grennell and the aldermen declined to say which specific policy McClain allegedly violated.

Slover said the city has no indication McClain violated the law, only city policy.

The city’s next fiscal year begins Oct. 1, and McClain said at the last aldermen meeting the budgeting process was under way, with the clerk’s office gathering budget information from various city departments in preparation for the aldermen’s budget sessions.

The aldermen authorized Grennell to seek an interim city clerk to be hired as soon as possible, as well as the advertisement for a permanent city clerk.

Grennell said he does not anticipate the budgeting process to be delayed.

“I hope it’s not (impacted) too much,” Grennell said. “The budget requests have been sent out … so we are actually OK at the moment.”

Grennell said he would be working “as expeditiously as possible” to hire an interim city clerk.

McClain was sworn in as city clerk July 1.

McClain was hired as assistant city clerk in July 2015 as the city was preparing for the end of Donnie Holloway’s term in 2016 as an elected city clerk. The position has historically been elected, but the aldermen worked to change the city charter to make the position appointed. That change was approved in 2014.

McClain’s departure is one in series of several in the city clerk’s office in recent years, as city officials have grappled with getting a handle on the city’s finances amid the turnover.

McClain moved to Natchez from Cleveland, where she served as city clerk for five years.

Before that, she lived in Gautier, where she was city clerk for two years.

McClain did not return multiple requests for comment Monday.