Thank you for your service!

Published 5:44 pm Tuesday, September 1, 2020

As Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson settles into his new position, the city is undergoing some adjustment pains with a few public servants stepping down or retiring.

First up to announce her plans to move on was Jennifer Ogden Combs, executive director of Visit Natchez and the Natchez Convention and Promotion Commission.

Combs, who has served in the position since February 2017, will vacate the position on Oct. 1 to pursue as yet undisclosed plans.

Combs has done a great job of promoting Natchez and Adams County as a travel and convention destination. Combs said she had planned to step down earlier but prolonged her tenure to help the area through the COVID-19 pandemic. Lynsey Smith, current director of sales for Visit Natchez will take over as interim director when Combs leaves next month.

We thank Combs for her service to the community and wish her the best in her future endeavors.

Next up to announce his retirement was Natchez Fire Chief Ventris Green who served in the position since March 2019. Green made several improvements in the fire department during his tenure, including improving the city’s fire rating and obtaining a new fire truck.

Green, whose last day was Monday, is replaced by David Freeman who was named interim fire chief on Monday as the city searches for a permanent replacement.

We thank Green for his contributions to the city’s fire department, not only as the chief but also as a firefighter in the department for more than 20 years. We hope he enjoys his retirement.

Finally, Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong recently announced he would be retiring on the first of next year after having served as the police chief since August 2017 following a stint as Vicksburg’s police chief and a 25-year career in the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Armstrong has helped reduce crime in the city by having surveillance cameras installed in high crime areas, raised police pay and obtained new weapons and radios for the officers among other achievements.

We thank Armstrong for his service as well and appreciate his willingness to stay on until his successor has been hired and trained.

Now, Gibson and Natchez aldermen have their work cut out for them. They have big shoes to fill.