Pascagoula council won't pay for city manager search, yet

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

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) – The Pascagoula City Council held a special meeting Monday night to discuss spending $30,000 to search for a new city manager. The current manager, Kay Kell, is hoping to retire this year. And several councilmen are already split on spending taxpayer dollars on the search for a new city manager.

"With a position with this much responsibility, it is no brainier to find a professional who will find you a perfect city manger you are looking for," Human Resources Director Bruce Knott said.

The city said it's eyeing Amy Whitten and the Whitten Group to lead the hunt for Kell's replacement.

"With $30,000, she would interview existing persons on staff to get the ability and attributes that most individuals bring to the table. Then she would go out and do regional and national searches, if necessary, for a city manager who fits in with what we already have in place," Knott said.

Pascagoula city councilmen will have to approve the $30,000 search. Councilman Frank Corder said he already thinks it will be a waste of taxpayer money.

"Citizens' concerns are we could be spending this money on street pavement and fixing a pot hole here or there," Corder said.

Corder said the city should save during these tough economic times. He wants the council to find the best person for the job.

"Us seven sit down and figure out what our plans are and what we want to see from our city manager. No search firm is going to be able to do that for us, that is our job. That is what we are hired to do."

Councilman Joe Abston disagrees. He said the city can afford to pay for help.

"A city with an over $20 million budget every year, it shouldn't be a problem spending a couple of thousand dollars to make sure the $20 million is spent correctly every year and getting the best bang for our buck. It is probably not too big of an investment," Abston said.

The council tabled the proposal at Monday's meeting and will take up the city manager issue at next Tuesday's meeting. Each city councilman was also asked to come up new duties and requirements for the city manager job.

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