• 39°

Supervisors choose new administrator

[12/29/04]The new administrator for Warren County will come from City Hall on a 4-1 vote by supervisors Tuesday.

In the same meeting, the county board voted to contract for the first time with an outside company to prepare and serve food in the Warren County Jail and other detention facilities.

The new administrator will be John Smith, veteran accountant for the City of Vicksburg. He will work with, then succeed Rick Polk, who has been county administrator for 21 years. Polk is retiring after 25 years in state posts, including four years with the State Auditor’s Office.

The Warren County Board of Supervisors received 31 resumes for the post and interviewed nine people last week, eight from Vicksburg and one from Louisiana.

District 5 Supervisor Richard George made the motion to hire Smith and District 2 Supervisor David McDonald made the second. District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon, board president, and District 2 Supervisor Michael Mayfield endorsed the selection.

While voting no, District 4 Supervisor Carl Flanders said he would support and try to help Smith in the duties of managing county business, he said the most qualified applicant was a Jackson Public Schools executive with extensive personnel management experience.

Smith will start work with the county on Jan. 18 at a salary of $70,000 a year. Polk had received a salary of $90,000 a year.

Supervisors are also in the process of deciding whether to replace board counsel Randy Sherard. A vote on that matter is expected next week.

The food service contract, on recommendation of Purchasing Agent Tonga Vinson, will go to ABL Management of Baton Rouge. A secondary award was made to Valley Services Inc. of Jackson. ABL will use county-owned kitchen equipment and inmate labor to prepare and serve meals in the jail, youth detention center and detention facility for the mentally ill.

ABL bid $1.245 per meal and Valley offered to serve meals for $1.30 to $1.44 per meal depending on inmate count.

Vinson recommended awarding a secondary contract to save time in rebidding in the event the primary contractor has to be terminated before the end of the one-year agreement.

In her written recommendation, Vinson estimated the county could save at least $75,000 a year. That is based on a total cost of $220,056 for fiscal year 2004 which worked out to a per meal cost of $2.07.

Considering ABL’s per meal price, the cost for the same number of meals as served in FY 2004 would have been $132,321.

The contract is expected to go into effect in about 90 days.