Natchez City Clerk Charles Crump resigns

Published 9:57 am Thursday, September 19, 2019

NATCHEZ — City Clerk Charles Crump has resigned his position effective end of the day Friday, Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said.

Grennell said Crump had submitted his resignation earlier in the week and said it would be effective Sept. 30 but came back Thursday morning and said it would be effective at the end of the week.

Crump, formerly of Vicksburg, started his first day as City Clerk on Feb. 19, replacing Megan Edmonds, who announced her resignation in August 2018.

Crump said he had no specific plans for the future other than “to leave the City of Natchez.”

“I’ve got a lot of prospects so I’m just kind of waiting,” Crump said. “Tomorrow (Friday) will be my final day. I have a couple of jobs lined up. I have a couple of offers, so I’m just trying to get out of here tomorrow (Friday).”

Crump said he felt like certain members of the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen were not cooperative with him as city clerk.

“The board would not take any of my financial advice,” Crump said. “They were dissatisfied with the way I was running the finances.”

Crump noted that the city is two years behind on city audits.

“I did get one closed out that had been hovering around for the last year, so I got that one closed out,” Crump said, adding he had hired a firm from Memphis to reconcile the 2018 audit. “That’s last year’s general fund information, general fund accounts. But actually they did all the accounts and the general fund is the last one.”

Crump said some aldermen were pushing to close out the audits too fast.

“What they don’t understand is this city has been behind two years on audits and they expect me to get them done,” Crump said. “I’ve been here seven months. It is not going to happen.”

Crump said he did not realize going into the job that the board members would want to micromanage his department.

“They are telling me what is going on in the clerk’s office. . . ” Crump said. “They are saying the staff needs training. The staff has no problem with the system that we have. It is that they are so far behind.”

Crump said the proper procedure for catching up the bookkeeping backlog is to complete one year’s work before proceeding with the next year’s work.

“We have to do one or the other year, and they want the staff to do all the years at the same time,” Crump said. “You can’t do it that way, so we have to wait on (the Memphis firm) to finish the prior year so you can have a balance so you can move forward in this year. We have had that talk since February. I would tell them that this is going to take time to get out of this backlog, this two years backlog. They want it immediately.”

Crump said he also did not realize the aldermen would be so involved in the budgeting process.

“I think I was a little late on the budget because in the past experience, basically the board would only get a copy of the budget that I presented,” Crump said, “then if they had some changes this board would want to micromanage it. I have no problem with that. They should have said that early on. They wanted to be a total part of the budget process. I kind of blame myself on that. I should have found out how they wanted to do the budget. I was trying to work the city out of this backlog and then we are crunched for money and they are steadily obligating money. You don’t obligate money when you don’t know where you are.”

Grennell said he would appoint Administrative Assistant Pam Patterson interim City Clerk and would immediately begin interviewing candidates to replace Crump.

Below is a description of the City Clerk’s position from the City of Natchez website:

“Location & Responsibilities

“The City Clerk’s Office is located on the 1st floor of City Hall in downtown Natchez. The City Clerk’s Office performs a combination of tasks for the city and works to provide clear and concise information to various city departments, officials and the general public. In addition to serving as Treasurer for the City of Natchez, the City Clerk’s Office supervises all accounting throughout the city and ensures that individual departments and offices are practicing the most recent accepted accounting practices.

“The City Clerk’s Office also serves the following functions for the City of Natchez:

“Serves as Custodian of the city seal and official records

“Serves as Registrar of Voters for the city

“Responsible for all purchasing and receiving for the city

“Manages privilege licenses

“Manages budget and records

“Certifies ordinances and resolutions

“Manages and certifies city elections

“Provides data processing services”