The McComb city board reversed course on going without a interim city clerk during a special called meeting Wednesday, following almost an hour-long executive session.
The board voted 4-1 to reappoint deputy city clerk Rosezea Scott as interim city clerk with selectmen Ronnie Brock, Michael Cameron, Ted Tullos and Shawn Williams in favor of the action and Selectman Devante Johnson against it. Selectman Donovan Hill was absent.
Scott spent a week in the position when the board appointed her March 26. Johnson and Brock, who were both absent from that meeting, called another special meeting on April 1, where the board rescinded the action, leaving the city without a city clerk.
Mayor Quordiniah Lockley said multiple times that there were some actions such as writing warrants and checks and transferring money that only a city clerk could do and not a deputy clerk, which is why Lockley pushed for the action.
“There are several things we need done right now. There is not a city clerk on our checking account; therefore, when payroll is due, money is due, and only the city clerk can transfer money to our payroll account.”
Lockley asked board attorney Angela Cockerham to go into more detail.
“I did look into whether or not the city would need a city clerk, and ... the city clerk does have some statutory duties,” Cockerham said. “We do have two deputies and one of them could serve as acting city clerk until the board decided that you wanted to hire a permanent city clerk.”
Cockerham’s recommendation to the board was to increase the bonding of the deputy clerk acting as interim city clerk. When an employee is bonded, it covers the employers with an insurance policy designed to protect against theft.
Lockley said he spoke with the city’s three deputy clerks and the former city clerk about who would replace the city clerk, and the group recommended Scott.
Johnson said he was against reappointing Scott because of previous experiences with interim appointments.
“My only issue with this is that we have sat around this table, and we’ve had interims in place, and coming out of your mouth itself you talked about skill set, you’ve talked about qualifications, and I see us doing the very same thing again and again,” he said.
Johnson asked Lockley if Scott was qualified, and Lockley said she was more than qualified in the administrative side of the position, but “if you’re asking does she have all the skill? I would say no.”
Brock said he had more questions but felt uncomfortable saying them in public, so he made a motion to go into executive session, which passed 4-1. Brock, Cameron, Johnson and Williams were in favor of moving the discussion behind closed doors and Tullos voted against it.
Almost an hour later, the board moved back into open forum to take the vote. The board voted to reappoint Scott to the position with a payment adjustment and with the stipulation that she could not fire any employees while filling the role.
The city is currently advertising for the position, which closes on April 15, but Human Resources Director Donjurea Davis said no one had applied for the position as of Wednesday.
The agenda also included closing advertisements for city administrator early and appointing David Myers to the position effective May 1. Myers was previously recommended by Lockley, but the recommendation died due to a lack of a second.
Johnson said the motion to end the advertisement was out of order, and Lockley asked Cockerham for her opinion. Cockerham agreed with Johnson, noting that there was an end date specified on the advertisement that the city had to follow.
Lockley removed the advertisement and the appointment from the agenda. Before moving on, Brock asked if having the recommendation on this special agenda “jeopar-dized” the city’s advertising process. Cockerham said it did not because the city would still advertise.