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Polk retiring in January after 21 years with county

[11/9/04]Warren County Administrator Rick Polk will retire at the end of January, leaving open the highest-salaried job in local county government.

Polk, 55, who has worked for Warren County for 21 years and has a combined 25 years in government, is paid $90,000 per year.

Supervisors, who are considered part-time employees, are paid $37,343 a year. The salary for the county’s money manager is higher than the sheriff’s and can only be topped by fee-paid officials, including the chancery clerk and circuit clerk, whose income is based on business volume in their offices and how they manage expenses.

Polk said he has no immediate plans after January, except to relax. “I’m just going to go piddle,” he said. “Hunt, fish and kick back.”

Polk, who lives in Hinds County and has a farm in Covington County, has been the subject of debate among Warren County supervisors because he lives outside the county. Some supervisors have said that they believe high-paying jobs like the county administrator should be limited to local residents, but unlike the City of Vicksburg, the county has no residency requirements for employees.

The city charter requires that city officers including police and fire chiefs, city clerk and city attorney, all live inside the county.

Under state law, elected county officials must live in the county and, if elected from a district, inside the district.

A county policy does say that open positions be posted in-house to county employees for five days before advertising to the public.

District 2 Supervisor Michael Mayfield said that is something he would like to see changed.

“I personally would like to look inside the boundaries of Warren County,” Mayfield said, adding that while supervisors have expected Polk’s retirement, they do not have anyone in mind to take his place.

“I’ve had a few people ask me about the job, and I’m very interested in talking to them,” Mayfield said.

The county administrator is responsible for daily operations of county government and budget preparation and submittal.

District 4 Supervisor Carl Flanders said the board will accept the resignation at its Nov. 15 meeting. He said supervisors are putting together a job description to advertise for the position, but that where the potential applicants live is not as important to him as qualifications.

“It will not be a deciding factor in my decision because the most important thing to me is having somebody of high character who can manage our employees and our budget,” Flanders said. “Where they live is not a factor to me.”