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Public invited to second government forum set for Tuesday

 

NATCHEZ — The second installment of a series of forums on efficiency in government is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Natchez Convention Center.

The topic of Tuesday’s forum will be Consolidation of Services and will feature David Parrish and Joe Fratesi and Assistant Research Professor Joseph “Dallas” Breen, Ph.D of the Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University, will facilitate the discussion.

Ted Baggett and Harry Hayes, both experts from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, will discuss consolidation of public services.

“Ted Baggett and Harry Hayes, possess decades of combined experience in local government law and municipal services delivery, organizers said.

After consulting with a number of experts throughout he nation, Breen said he determined that these Vinson Institute associates were overwhelmingly recommended as the go-to for expertise on municipal consolidation of services and local government services delivery, organizers said.

The Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen with the Stennis Institute organized the forums.

Discussion of consolidation of city and county services has been ongoing in Natchez and Adams County for decades, and the city and the county have even consolidated some services including 911 services and tax collection services.

As part of the ongoing consolidation discussion, Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said the Natchez Board of Aldermen authorized him last year to put together a committee to start exploring consolidation options. The committee includes Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Debbie Hudson, FOR Natchez President Chesney Doyle, Carter Smith and Grennell.

The first in the series of two public forums, held May 5, was titled Forms of Local Government and P. Edward French, Ph.D., current department head and professor of political science and public administration at Mississippi State University (and former Stennis Institute executive director) gave attendees an overview of the forms of government available under Mississippi State Law.

Different forms of municipal government available under the Mississippi Code and presented during the May 5 forum, include:

  • The mayor-council form of government, often referred to as the “strong mayor” form of government, such as the City of Jackson has in which the mayor has a vote and legislative role on the council.
  • The mayor-board form of government often referred to as the “weak mayor” form of government, which is most like the city of Natchez government, in which the mayor does not have a vote on the board and serves more in an executive management position.
  • Natchez’s form of government is slightly different from the mayor-board form as defined in the Mississippi Code Charter and under which other cities in the state with the form of government operate because the City of Natchez was incorporated and chartered before the state of Mississippi ratified its Constitution.

Oragnizers, including Grennell and Breen said the purpose of the first forum was to give attendees an understanding of the forms of local government available to give them a foundation from which to work for the second forum, which will be Tuesday.

The event is free and open to the public.

The meeting

Consolidation of Services, 5 p.m. May 21 at the Natchez Convention Center: David Parrish, Joe Fratesi and Breen of the Stennis Institute will facilitate the discussion on public service consolidation with two experts from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia. The two experts, Ted Baggett and Harry Hayes, possess decades of combined experience in local government law and municipal services delivery, organizers said. After consulting with a number of experts throughout the nation, Breen said he determined that these Vinson Institute associates were overwhelmingly recommended as the go-to for expertise on municipal consolidation of services and local government services delivery, organizers said.

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