City planner picked by port board as leader|[09/15/07]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 15, 2007

City planner Wayne Mansfield is the unanimous choice by the five-member Warren County Port Commissioner to be its new executive director, a decision likely to face a tough vote on the Warren County Board of Supervisors for ratification.

Mansfield was selected after interviews with five applicants, according to a letter to supervisors from commission chairman Johnny Moss. All resumes and identities of the other applicants are being withheld until after a choice is ratified, Moss said Friday.

Despite the necessary approval from a majority of supervisors, the letter said Mansfield will report to work Sept. 19.

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“I wouldn’t see why anyone would have a problem with him,” Board President Richard George said Friday.

Still, some supervisors said the board should have been more involved in interviews.

“I just thought we should have an input,” District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon said.

If selected, Mansfield will succeed Jim Pilgrim, who will leave the position effective Sept. 30. His starting pay may be less than that of Pilgrim, who was paid $84,000 out of a pooled salary fund.

Tendered to all five was an offer of $75,000 annually, Moss said.

A major player in city projects, particularly such grant-funded endeavors as NRoute and the planned Transportation Museum, Mansfield’s selection would put him on roughly equal footing with Pilgrim, a seven-year employee of the county’s economic development arm and a former Entergy executive.

The commission manages industrial activity at the Port of Vicksburg and at Ceres Research and Industrial Interplex. Four of its voting members are appointed by city and county boards, with the fifth appointed by the governor.