Gautier's City Clerk and Mayor still at odds over staff layoffs

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - By Patrice Clark – bio | email

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Gautier's city clerk was still on the job Wednesday and still angry over the city's budget that led her to resign. Tuesday night, the city council cut 12 employees, including six from the clerk's office while at the same time boosting the budget for the police department.

Adrienne Howell is sticking to her decision to quit her city clerk job. She said she doesn't want to work for a city that would give pink slips to hard working employees.

"You don't do that. It would be like, you go to the hospital and they laid off all the RNs, and then they laid part of the LPNs, and they are going to rely on the candy stripers to come in and take over," Howell said.

Gautier's budget is $10 million plus. More than $3 million of it is going to the police for 10 new cars, new hires and raises. Howell said the former police officer turned mayor has an obvious bias.

"Yes, the mayor shows favoritism to the police department," Howell said.

Howell's comments angered Mayor Tommy Fortenberry. He said every city leader had a hand in the budget cuts and increases.

"We gave the city clerk numerous opportunities to cut from her department, and she said she could not cut. We, meaning myself and the council, done what we felt was right for the citizens of Gautier."

Mayor Fortenberry said he didn't expect Howell to resign over the budget cuts, but said his goal now is to get back to the business of the city.

"I don't want to be a dog and pony show in Gautier about this. There are still great, positive things coming for the City of Gautier," Fortenberry said. "This is just a bump in the road. And we are still moving forward, and we are on the right road."

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