Mayor Flaggs appoints accountability and consolidation committee

Published 9:00 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said he wants more oversight over city operations, and has appointed a committee to look at areas where the city can save money through cutting costs and consolidating jobs or departments.

Flaggs Monday appointed a government accountability and service consolidating committee with himself as chairman. Other members include city attorney Nancy Thomas, assistant city attorney Walterine Langford, human resources director Ann Bradley, city accounting director Doug Whittington, and deputy city clerk John Carroll.

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He also ordered Bradley to pull all job opening notices, saying all job openings will be reviewed and approved by the committee.

“If a division head wants to post a position, it’s got to come through this committee before if goes on the agenda,” he said.

Flaggs at a September board meeting indicated he was considering naming a committee to evaluate the city’s divisions, departments and department heads, and to recommend cross training employees to handle other jobs in their departments or divisions.

“The purpose of this committee will be to bring more accountability to Vicksburg personnel and city services,” he said, adding the committee will look at reducing the cost of government and possibly consolidating government services, and examine the city’s vacation and sick leave policies.

“This committee will be looking at real dollar for dollar savings, not projected (anticipated) savings,” he said. “We’ve got to get this government under control. We’ve got 500 and something employees and we’ve got to do something.”

The mayor said no one will be laid off or furloughed

“But if you quit or you retire, you may not be replaced,” Flaggs said. “If you retire or plan to retire, retire quickly, and if you’re going to quit, quit quick, because it will help us. The police and fire departments are exempt from this; we are not going to affect the police and fire departments.

“We’re going to look at every division and evaluate and see whether or not we can get savings. We’re going to look at some innovative, creative ways to running government without diminishing the quality of service. If you’re going to work for the city, you’re going to work.”

He said after the meeting that as someone leaves the city, the committee will re-evaluate the position and decide whether to consolidate it with another city position to save money.

“As employees leave, we need to look, as government gets smaller, maybe we don’t need to replace everybody,” South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour said.

In some cases, he said, the city may look at changing technology to reduce the number of employees, and save the city money by reducing the cost of government.

“Instead of the possibility of having to raise taxes, we just cut a little bit. Not that we’re replacing anybody who’s currently working, as it comes through by attrition, we look at saving money in the city.”

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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