City’s chosen candidate declines job offer for parks, recreation director

Published 4:30 pm Thursday, August 5, 2021

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NATCHEZ — City of Natchez officials said they will now choose between two finalists for the position of Parks and Recreation Director after their first choice for the position, Michelle Burrell from Claiborne County, declined to accept the position on Wednesday.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said Burrell told officials that her reason for not accepting the job was due to a “personal matter” that is confidential.

“This leaves us with two finalists: Fay Minor and Sanora Cole,” he said. “Both finalists will be afforded the opportunity for second interviews with the (Board of Aldermen) on Tuesday afternoon during an executive session.”

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Minor is the current Sports and Programs Director for the Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission and Sanora Cole is a recreation manager in Baton Rouge, said Alderwoman Valencia Hall, who chairs the city’s recreation committee.

Hall said there were approximately 40 applicants for the position altogether and the committee dwindled down those applications to the three finalists.

Tuesday starting at 11 a.m. is the next regularly scheduled meeting for the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen, and the board usually determines whether an executive session is needed towards the end of their meetings. Executive sessions are not open to the public or media.

During a special called meeting on Friday last week, the aldermen interviewed all three of the finalists, Burrell, Minor and Cole, during an executive session with lasted a little more than three hours.

Upon their return to an open meeting, the board voted 4-1 to hire Burrell. Aldermen Valencia Hall, Sara Carter-Smith, Felicia Irving and Dan Dillard voted yes, Alderman Billie Joe Frazier voted no and Alderman Ben Davis was absent at the end of the meeting when the board voted on hiring the recreation director.

After the meeting, Gibson said Burrell requested some time to decide whether she would accept the position.