Crucial decisions face board in their first meeting

Published 3:58 pm Monday, July 3, 2017

City department assignments for aldermen and city department head appointments will top the agenda Wednesday when the Board of Mayor and Aldermen sits for its first meeting of a new term.

The meeting is the first under the city’s amended charter, which was approved June 19.

One of the new provisions under the amended charter allows Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to nominate and appoint the chief of police with the consent of one alderman. Flaggs said the new chief and all department heads will be sworn in during a 3 p.m. ceremony Wednesday.

The police chief’s appointment has been a topic of discussion and speculation, with several people expressing support for Police Chief Walter Armstrong with one supporter posting a petition to the board on Facebook to keep him as chief. North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield at Sunday’s swearing-in ceremony said he will support Armstrong and Fire Chief Charles Atkins for re-appointment.

Flaggs has not mentioned whom he will recommend as police chief, saying he won’t announce his selection until Wednesday’s meeting.

“I’ve narrowed my list down to two choices,” he said Monday, “One inside the department and one outside.”

According to a copy of a letter sent by Flaggs to Mayfield and South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour, the names of the police department’s two deputy chiefs will also be announced Wednesday. The letter also indicates Craig Danczyk will replace Atkins as fire chief, and Derrick Stamps and Trey Martin will serve as deputy fire chiefs.

City attorney Nancy Thomas, city clerk Walter Osborne, parks and recreation director Joe Graves, human resources director Walterine Langford, director of finance and administration Doug Whittington, Municipal Court Judge Toni Terrett and court clerk Janice Carter are all reappointed.

The appointments for public works director and community development director are listed as “to be determined.” One new office is on the list, “economic development,” but the director has not been named.

Flaggs has been pushing for an economic development director since he began his first term as mayor in 2013.

The division of responsibilities of the board members for city departments puts Flaggs in charge of the police and fire departments; finance, administration and grants; human resources; and the economic development division.

Mayfield will oversee public works, community development and the city’s action line.

Monsour will supervise parks and recreation, information technology and the Vicksburg Municipal Airport.

Other items on the agenda include appointments to the Vicksburg Convention Center Advisory Board, appointments to the NRoute Board of Directors and approving an application for an economic development assistance grant from the Delta Regional Authority.

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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