Meridian Star

Local News

April 16, 2014

Council lifts hiring freeze, hiring hurdles remain



            "You either pass or you don't," Thomas said. "That's the only fair way to do it."

            Thomas said he is glad the committee is going to look at not only  the Civil Service Commission, but the entirety of the city's employment policies.

            "What do we need to do as far as promotions? How do they get hired? How do they apply for jobs?" Thomas asked. "It's a total look at employment in the city. What policies do we need to have in effect? Do we need to look at vacation time? Do we need to look at benefits for the employees? Do we need to look at insurance for the employees?"

            The time for beginning the process of preparing a budget for 2015 is getting closer, and the city presently does not have a chief financial officer. McGrevey asked the council to approve a consulting agreement with Wayne Bland, the former associate vice president of Mississippi State University for Finance Administration. Bland has more than 30 years of accounting experience and McGrevey noted that Wayne Bland is not related to Mayor Bland. The council approved McGrevey's request to hire Bland as a consultant, with the council setting a salary cap at $30,000. Bland will work from April until October, which is when the new budget is due.

            "This year it's because we have not hired a CFO yet and we're down two positions in the accounting department," McGrevey said about the need for a consultant. "But most importantly, it's taking and doing a comprehensive review of the budgeting system."

            McGrevey said Ward 5 Councilman Randy Hammon had suggested a zero based budget.

            "We don't just start with where we have been in the past and use that as the baseline — we start over and every item has to be re-justified when we're going through it," McGrevey said.

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