County OKs contract with search firm to find new port director

Published 9:33 am Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Officials with Jorgenson Consulting of Greensboro, N.C., are expected to be in Vicksburg the week of Oct. 24 to begin working with the Warren County Port Commission to find a new port/economic director, commission president Margaret Gilmer said Monday.

“They will be visiting with people in the community to get their input,” she said. “We’re excited about it. We’re ready to go. We’ll confirm with Jorgenson today.”

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Gilmer’s comments came after the Warren County Board of Supervisors approved a $40,000 contract between the port commission and Jorgenson to assist in the search for a new director. The supervisors’ approval was required because the board is a co-signer with the commission, county administrator John Smith said Friday.

The port commission in September voted to hire Jorgenson to help with the search for a new director. Gilmer said at the time Jorgenson will do the initial screening and background checks of prospective candidates, and the commission will be involved with the interviews.

Its decision to hire a search firm came after former director Wayne Mansfield resigned to take an economic development agency job in Longview, Texas.

At the time, Gilmer said she expected the search for a new director to take up to eight weeks.

“Hopefully, we can shorten it,” she said.

The contract caps communication costs at $1,050 and background checks on potential candidates at two for a maximum of $350 each.

Also, the firm’s advertising will most likely be limited to two publications at a fee of $500 each, board attorney Blake Teller said during a discussion of the contract at an Oct. 11 board work session.

The new director’s duties will be different from Mansfield’s, and focus more on economic development than running the port.

Gilmer said in September the emphasis on an economic development director was influenced by the results from an asset mapping by the Mississippi Development Authority that looked at the area’s strengths and weaknesses and indicated economic development should be the new director’s primary duty.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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