City workers to be cross-trained, division heads evaluated

Published 8:31 pm Friday, September 15, 2017

Beginning in October, Vicksburg city employees are going to begin cross-training, and division heads are going to be evaluated by an outside group.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. announced the personnel moves Friday morning, adding his own staff will undergo evaluation, “Because it’s imperative that if we’re going to lead, we’re going to lead by example. We’re not going to ask the employees to do anything we wouldn’t do.”

“Before I got here, you know and I know there were a lot of political appointees, a lot of political favors and a lot of people put in positions where they just couldn’t handle the position, and we might as well let them know that.

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“That doesn’t mean anyone’s fired or laid off, we’re probably one of the few cities or the only city (in Mississippi) who has a balanced budget and hasn’t laid anyone off or had raised taxes,” he said.

Flaggs told the Board of Mayor and Aldermen he has met with the division heads and they are supposed to have their employee cross-training proposals to him by the first of October.

“It is absolutely imperative that we cross train our employees. With 500-and-somthing employees and 20 percent eligible to retire and 80 percent can only function in one position we have to do something.

“And if the division head can do it, everyone in their office should be able to do it to.”

Flaggs discussed cross-training employees at a Sept. 9 meeting when the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a new hiring policy that would advertise city job openings in-house and to the public to find the best-qualified individual for the advertised position.

Cross-training is not the only change that’s being implemented, Flaggs said.

What the board is going to require in the future, Flaggs said, is have an employee be put the best position to do the best job for the city and the taxpayers.

“We’re moving the city forward, and we intend to leave the city better than we found it. And when we put you (employees) in a position going forward, I promise you it’s going to be the best for you and the best for the city. You don’t know how much potential you’ve got until someone pushes you to another level.”

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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