Nickson sworn in as city clerk

Published 2:39 pm Friday, December 29, 2023

The little girl who grew up at the bottom of the hill is now at the top.

Friday, as members of the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen and her family and friends looked on, Deborah Nickson was sworn in as Vicksburg city clerk, replacing City Clerk Walter Osborne who has retired.

“It is my highest honor to swear in Deborah Nickson as city clerk of the City of Vicksburg,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said before administering Nickson’s oath of office.

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“She has been with the city of Vicksburg for 14 years and her hard work has led her to where she is today. I hope to see the best from her and her office, her dedication to public service and commitment to our community and exemplify the qualities essential for this position.”

After thanking Osborne for preparing his staff for the change of clerks, Ward 1 Alderman Michael Mayfield told Nickson, “I have no doubt that you would do a good job for this city. We appreciate the fact that you wanted the job because if you want it, that means you’re going to do the very best that you can. Do your job, do it right, and I promise you this board, we’ve shown that we’ll take care.”

He asked people to pray for Nickson because “her job won’t be easy; you can rest assured on that.

“But you got it,” he told her. “It’s yours; it’s your baby, you rock it. Thank you.”

Ward 2 Alderman Alex Monsour recalled how Nickson helped him get signatures from property owners in a subdivision for easements to provide utility service.

The experience, he said, “showed me how much she cared about the city because she didn’t have to do that (get the signatures). She did what it took to help out people in this city.”

Monsour talked about Osborne’s legacy, telling Nickson, “You’re going to take it over and then it’s just going to be a great department over there. I want to thank you and if you ever need me, just call me. You know you can.”

After taking the oath, Nickson recalled growing up on Pearl Street, which intersects with Speed Street at the bottom of a hill. After having two children and working at various jobs, she said, she went to work in November 2009 at the city’s Water & Gas Administration as a cashier. She transferred to the City Clerk’s Office in May 2010 as a deputy clerk.

Nickson said her pastor, the Rev. Mitchell Dent, suggested she apply for the clerk’s position.

“I didn’t know anything about the city clerk’s office, but when your pastor tells you to do something, you don’t question it, you just do it so I did,” she said. “I want to thank Walter for hiring me that day because all I told him was that I just needed a chance and he gave me that chance. I want to thank the board for appointing me to this position. It is such an honor.”

Before she was sworn in, Nickson said she was still getting accustomed to the idea of replacing Osborne, who was city clerk for 24 years.

“I’m sort of nervous because I know I have some huge shoes to fill,” she said. “Walter has been here for over 20-something years and he has shown me a whole lot and I really appreciate it. I can do it but I’m a little nervous.”

When Nickson heard she would be replacing Osborne, “I had to ask myself, was I really ready. But I thought about it and God spoke to me in a little voice and told me, ‘If you weren’t ready, the opportunity would never have presented itself.”

Nickson became a Certified Municipal Clerk in 2020 by the International Institute of Municipal Clerks and the Mississippi State University Extension Service and received her Master Municipal Clerk certification in July 2023.

While working with the city of Vicksburg, she has served as official/secretary of the city Board of Transportation, secretary for the Civil Service Commission for 14 years and is a Notary Public.

She is a 2012 Cum Laude graduate of Virginia College where she received an Associate of Science Degree in Administrative Office Management. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Alcorn State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration in May 2023. She is also currently in the Master’s Program at Alcorn State University.

Nickson is a member of First Mississippi Chapter of Blacks in Government where she held the position of first vice president, a member of the Vicksburg Chapter of the NAACP and also a member of the Vicksburg Warren Alcorn State University Alumni Chapter.

She has been married to Captain Marlin Nickson of the Vicksburg Fire Department for 10 years. Deborah has two children RaeKwon Devonte who is serving in the United States Marine Corps and DeLexis Ariana a 2021 graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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