Vicksburg’s grant department now under finance umbrella

Published 10:46 pm Sunday, February 18, 2018

The city’s grants specialists are now a part of finance and administration.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen made the move at a special meeting Wednesday.

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The finance and administration department is supervised by city accounting director Doug Whittington.

The grants office at one time was part of the city’s planning department during the administration of former Mayor Laurence Lyons.

It later became an independent office that answered to the mayor under former Mayor Paul Winfield’s administration in 2009.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said the decision to move the department was made after an evaluation of the city’s divisions and departments as a way to consolidate city departments to improve efficiency.

Flaggs said after the meeting grant specialists Marcia Weaver and Nancy Allen will still be handling the city’s grants.

“It’s (the move) just going to make their functions more efficient,” he said. 

Flaggs said the board will be combining more departments in the future.

“You’re going to be looking at some consolidation of services without laying off or furloughing any employees. We’re going to strengthen employees as we go forward. The whole idea is to streamline this government so the taxpayers are the beneficiaries.”

In another matter, the board authorized Flaggs to sign a contract not to exceed $130,000 with Mason Tillman Associates of Oakland, Calif. to perform a disparity study to examine the city’s contracting practices and how many minority- and women-owned business and contractors the city has hired over the past five years.

“Once they establish that ratio and we have a goal, then we can implement a (contracting) program,” city attorney Nancy Thomas said. “We need to do it, because for our federal projects it’s required.”

Flaggs said he wants the city’s minority plan to be an incentive to encourage minority- and women-owned businesses to compete for city contracts.

“We’re trying to grow Vicksburg,” he said. “We’re creating millions and millions of dollars (in) jobs, but the (outside) subcontractor gets the job and they don’t eat at Rusty’s or 10 South, or Chick-fil-A on a daily basis.”

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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