Supervisors OK filling vacant Justice Court clerk position at brief meeting Monday

Published 1:37 pm Monday, November 13, 2023

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NATCHEZ — The Adams County Board of Supervisors came out of its recess Monday morning at 11 a.m. to address a personnel situation in Adams County Justice Court.

Adams County Justice Court Clerk Verna Johnson asked permission to advertise for a replacement for a clerk who no longer works for the court.

Johnson said the Justice Court is budgeted for a staff that includes her and four other clerks. However, for the last two months, it has been operating with only her and three other clerks.

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District 3 County Supervisors Angela Hutchins asked if Justice Court actually needed a fourth clerk.

“Why do we need a fourth clerk,” Hutchins asked. “With our budget constraints, we said we would not re-hire for jobs when they became vacant.”

Hutchins said Justice Court operated well at one time with only three clerks.

Johnson said that was not the case, and that a fourth clerk is needed to get the work completed.

District 2 Supervisor Kevin Wilson said he thinks the fourth clerk is needed.

“This is actually one place the county makes money,” meaning the fines that Justice Court collects, Wilson said.

District 5 Supervisor and Board President Warren Gaines said he wants to make certain departments run smoothly.

“My goal is to keep departments running smoothly and stay within the budget,” Gaines said.

Originally, Johnson asked that the board approve overtime for other clerks in order to take care of the backlog of work that needs to be done. When she heard the pushback on filling the fourth clerk position, she said she would come in on the weekends and take care of the backlog of the work herself, if they would allow her to fill the fourth clerk position.

Johnson, who is a salaried employee, does not earn overtime pay.

Wilson made a motion to allow Johnson to advertise for someone to fill the fourth clerk position. Gaines supported the motion.

Wilson, Gaines and District 1 Supervisor Wes Middleton, who attended the meeting via telephone, voted in favor of the motion. Hutchins voted against it. District 4 Supervisor Ricky Gray did not attend the out-of-recess meeting.

The supervisors then went into executive session to discuss a personnel issue in Justice Court.