City of Vicksburg reorganizes public works department, sets raises

Published 2:04 pm Wednesday, July 12, 2023

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Monday approved a resolution reorganizing the City of Vicksburg’s public works department and setting pay raises for the promotions.

Under the resolution, Assistant Public Works Director Dane Lovell was named interim director and Street Superintendent Carl Harris was promoted to assistant director. Percy Guy was named street superintendent and Community Development Director Jeff Richardson was named as a director.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said Lovell was named interim director because he lives outside the city limits; according to city ordinances, department heads must live inside the limits. The exception was former Public Works Director Garnet Van Norman, who was grandfathered in because he was living outside the city when the ordinance was approved.

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The city has hired Joshua Burris, an engineering graduate from Mississippi State, as the project manager to oversee the city’s capital projects.

Flaggs said Richardson will serve several duties, including acting as a liaison between Lovell and Burris.

According to the resolution, the project manager reports directly to the interim public works director but

work collaboratively with the community development director.

The other appointees will perform the daily duties and activities of their departments.

Under the ordinance, Lovell will receive a $2,000 raise, while Harris’pay is increased by $1,000. Guy’s salary increases by $1,000 and Richardson receives a $3,000 pay increase because of his extra duties.

Flaggs announced his plans to reorganize public works at the board’s July 3 meeting, saying an organization chart would make it easier to contact supervisors at public works.

“I don’t need to talk to everybody and their mama when I need to talk to somebody,” Flaggs said at the time.

“That’s not the way a functional organization ought to work,” he added. “You ought to always know who’s in charge and if that person’s not there, who’s next in charge. I just believe that.”

Flaggs said after the meeting the changes will simplify the department’s chain of command.

“The way it was going (determining responsibility) was complicated. You didn’t know who was what, who has taken whose place. Now you know there’s a direct order of supervision,” he said.

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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