Natchez city clerk resigns: ‘It’s the right time’

Published 6:22 pm Tuesday, October 12, 2021

NATCHEZ — Natchez City Clerk Servia Fortenberry, who has been credited with successfully getting the city’s financial record keeping in order, has resigned.

Fortenberry submitted her resignation on Friday, Mayor Dan Gibson announced at Tuesday morning’s meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

Fortenberry

Fortenberry will remain in her position until Nov. 15 in hopes of helping to train her replacement and get that person up to speed.

Aldermen voted to begin advertising for applications for a new city clerk on Thursday of this week.

“My son is a senior in college in Alabama (at the University of Montevallo) and I want to go see him and I want to do some traveling,” Fortenberry said. “This is a life opportunity for me. It’s the right time. I’m leaving the city in good shape and it’s the time for me to take a leap of faith and bet on me.”

Fortenberry said she has enjoyed a positive relationship with the mayor and each of the aldermen.

“I have enjoyed working with them all,” Fortenberry said.

She was hired in October 2019 by former Mayor Darrell Grennell’s administration. She came to Natchez from McComb, where she served as city clerk from October 2016 until her coming to work in Natchez. Originally from McComb, Fortenberry has more than 24 years’ experience working in city government in various places, beginning with a role in former Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson’s administration. She became city clerk for Magnolia in 2014.

Fortenberry also served in the U.S. Army and the Air Guard.

Gibson praised Fortenberry’s work.

“It’s been a challenging couple of years and she has been able to complete three audits in one calendar year,” he said.

In related action, the mayor and aldermen approved a contract with accounting firm Silas Simmons to handle reconciliation of bank statements for 10 of the city’s largest accounts.

Completing bank statement reconciliation in a timely manner has been an issue for a number of years in Natchez, until Fortenberry’s department made a large dent in getting them caught up.

Aldermen have been pondering either outsourcing of jobs within the clerk’s office, or adding additional staff.

“The contract is on a month-to-month basis until such time as the city has additional staff in place to bring it back in house. We want to make sure during this time of transition that the city does not fall behind. We have worked very hard to get three audits done in one year and we don’t want to get behind again,” Gibson said.

The city will pay $95 per hour for reconciliation of statements for the remainder of the FYE ending Sept. 30, 2021. Fortenberry and her staff had completed most of that work and only two months remain.

For fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2021, the city will pay Silas Simmons $2,795 per quarter for the reconciliation of the statements for the 10 accounts.