Smith named city’s interim HR director

Published 8:47 pm Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. has named Fermika Smith as interim human resources director.

Smith, a Vicksburg native who is presently working as a clinic practice manager at Merit Health River Region, replaces Antoinette Bradley, who has been called to military duty. Smith’s first day is Sept. 4.

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“Her resume was impressive,” Flaggs said. “She has a professionalism about herself and an ability to network with the community, and she’s another person who doesn’t want to live anywhere else but Vicksburg.

“She’s a very smart young lady and I’m trying to rebuild the city as we go forward with millennials. She will be the example that will allow other millennials to come back to Vicksburg.”

Smith said she applied for the position after hearing about the opening at the city.

“I prayed about it, and thought about getting it, and couldn’t be more happy,” she said.

The hardest part of the process was telling her employees at the hospital she was leaving.

“I was just so thankful for the opportunity (to work with the city),” Smith said. “I’m always involved with and love my community and love my city, and I just figured what better way to serve than to become an employee of the city of Vicksburg, especially in an HR capacity.”

Smith said her position at the hospital was in some ways similar to working in human resources. 

“What I do long is more along the line what the job entails — employee relations, I coach employees, I evaluate employees; I’m responsible for their training. I know the city wanted to improve employee relations, so I’m excited,” she said.

A graduate of Hinds Community College and Alcorn State University with a bachelor’s degree in business, Smith was a clinical practice manager at River Region for three years, after working 13 years for Good Samaritan Rehabilitation.

She serves as chairman of the Vicksburg Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, serves on the boards of Habitat For Humanity and United Way of West Central Mississippi, and with her husband chairs the voter registration ministry for Greater Grove Street M.B. Church.

Flaggs announced Bradley was leaving Aug. 1. Bradley, who is a captain in the Army Reserve and an attorney in the judge advocate general’s office, was called back to active duty to serve with the 6th Recruiting Brigade, based at North Las Vegas, Nevada. She reports to her new assignment Sept. 12.

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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