Newton named new city clerk

By Russell Hood The Webster Progress-Times

Aldermen on Tuesday named Gail Newton as Eupora’s new city clerk.

She has been a deputy clerk employed by the Water Department since 2001. Newton will succeed City Clerk Lesa Hardin, who presented a letter of resignation to the Board of Aldermen and Mayor Tommy Lott during an Oct. 3 recessed meeting.

Hardin, who has accepted a position with the city of Starkville, has been city clerk since September 1998. Eupora aldermen accepted her resignation Oct. 3 with previously planned medical leave to begin next Wednesday and granted her vacation time through Dec. 31, minutes reflect.

They then voted to advertise the city clerk position as soon as possible, with all board members and mayor to be designated to conduct the interviews. During a special called meeting Friday afternoon, aldermen went into executive session to review the 23 applications received since the position was advertised; no action was taken.

The mayor and board went into executive session again for the matter of personnel during another special called meeting Tuesday morning. Newton, who was among the applicants, was later called into the closed session.

After coming back into open session about an hour later, Billy Brister (Ward 2) offered this motion: to suspend any further interviews of applicants for the position of city clerk, and to hire Newton based upon her interview and determination of qualifications, and that she is a deputy clerk for the city of Eupora and should be promoted to the position of city clerk.

Hank Flowers (Ward 4) seconded with all aldermen present (Brister, Flowers and Ward 1’s Vickey Patterson) voting aye. Dan Burchfield (at large) and Ricky Newton (Ward 3) had to leave the meeting before the vote because of prior commitments.

Accountant Aubrey Holder of Watkins, Ward and Stafford, which is the city’s auditing firm, was present during the initial part of Tuesday’s meeting before the board went into executive session.

He attended at the mayor’s request to answer any questions board members might have about the firm providing financial records support during the transition phase.

“We can provide training to help you get through the transition time,” Holder said. “You’re gonna have problems but … we can get through those.”