Vicksburg agrees to restructure city government

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Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. 

Vicksburg’s Board of Aldermen approved a resolution Monday that will restructure city government in a manner proposed by Mayor George Flaggs Jr., The Vicksburg Post reported.

Flaggs’ proposal to amend the city’s 105-year-old charter had undergone more than two years of debate, arguments and attempts at compromise.

“I feel relieved, now that all the work we put in is not in vain, and I think it’s the most progressive thing that ever happened to this city,” Flaggs said. “I intend to restructure and reorganize this city so that we can have more day-to-day oversight and accountability, and I hope that translates in to saving dollars.”

Flaggs said he believes about $1.5 million could be saved through restructuring the city government.

The board voted Monday to put Flagg’s amendments on the board’s minutes, signalling their approval. The charter amendments, which become effective July 1, were initially approved in January and later reviewed and approved by the attorney general and the governor’s office and returned to the city in April, the Post reported.

The charter amendments places individual aldermen over specific city departments with the authority to appoint the director of the division they supervise with the consent of one other elected official. The full board appoints the city clerk and city attorney.

Flaggs said the amended charter will give residents someone on the board they can go to with a problem. “They have someone they can go to who is directly over a department head,” he said. “It’s a direct avenue to government and accountability.”

Among some of the ordinances deleted in the amended charter include a provision making the police chief the superintendent of sidewalks with authority to make residents fix the sidewalks and moving that responsibility to the public works director, provisions regulating the speed of horses downtown, and provisions for maintaining a city hospital.