Bude OKs appointing Ford as its town clerk

by Sean Dunlap

The Bude Board of Aldermen voted on Tuesday, Jan. 3 to rehire a familiar face as town clerk following the recent resignation of Kimberly Vaughn from the key post she had held for better than a year.

“Ms. Vaughn has sent us a letter of resignation and the board needs to act on that so that we can move forward,” Mayor Linda Green told the panel about 10 minutes into their monthly business gathering.

Alderman Norma Kelly moved to formally accept Vaughn’s notification with Alderman John Knight making the second and the measure passing on a unanimous vote.

Green followed that decision by immediately telling board members she was recommending the rehiring of Ellisha “Button” Ford, who had held the town clerk’s post prior to Vaughn.

“I had asked our current deputy town clerk if she was interested in taking the job, and she declined in staying with what she was doing,” Green went on to say. “That led us back to asking Ms. Ford if she was willing to take on the job she had done so well in the past.”

Ford, most recently, had served as a deputy in the Franklin County Chancery Clerk’s office. In 2021, she left Bude and went to work as a municipal clerk for the City of McComb.

In her previous tenure with the Town of Bude, Ford served as a deputy clerk and then town clerk as well as municipal court clerk from 2017 through 2021.

She also holds the professional designation as a Certified Municipal Clerk.

In meeting with Ford briefly during the meeting, aldermen asked her if she was willing to return to work for the municipality to which she responded positively.

In discussing compensation, town leaders voted to set Ford’s pay at $43,000, which was an increase of $1,000 based on what she previously received with the municipality.

Alderman Jeffrey Quick asked how soon Ford would be able to start in the clerk’s position to which she responded she could do so after giving two weeks notice in regards to her deputy chancery clerk’s job.

“Maybe you could start tomorrow instead,” Quick said, drawing laughter from those in attendance.

She was expected to begin her duties with the town on Tuesday, Jan. 17 — a day after the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., holiday observance in which town offices were closed.

Later in the meeting, Alderman James Griffith questioned if the town needed to have an independent financial review of its books due to the employee turnover.

While no action was formally taken in regards to Griffith’s concerns, he did point out that when high-profile jobs in the public and private sectors are vacated and filled, a review was typically in order to make certain there are no lingering issues that will have to be addressed in the future.
In other action, the Bude Board of Aldermen considered the following business:

• Town of Bude maintenance staffer Elvia Brown brought several public works-related needs to the panel for consideration.

One immediate concern was the need to remove a dead pine tree near the town’s sewer lift station on Mississippi Highway 184 near Odie Smith Road.

“If this tree or any of its limbs were to fall, it could cause considerable damage to the lift station,” Brown warned.

Town leaders retained the services of a professional removal service to cut the tree and the work was accomplished last week.

Brown also noted the town needed to do some work at the sewer lift station on C Street near Sweet Home Church — specifically the replacement of a rotten utility pole that provides electrical service to that infrastructure.

“(The old pole) could come down in a future storm and that would literally cut the town’s sewer pumping ability off causing everything to back up — and that would not be a good situation,” he continued.

Bude officials said a new pole would have to be purchased and installed, and maintenance staffers would then have to work with Entergy to make sure electrical service was restored once the replacement pole was erected by a certified electrician.

While there was no firm cost estimate for the pole replacement work, Brown said he felt confident it would not be more than several thousand dollars.

• There was a lengthy discussion related to fire hydrant inspections in the municipality and the need to finalize a list of working and non-working plugs based on an ongoing review of those street-side devices.

In a related matter, the Bude Fire Department formally requested an access key for any locks — installed to prevent the theft of potable water from the municipality — that are placed on fire hydrants anywhere in the town.

• Approved the January claims docket in the amount of $11,265.57 along with the town’s December, 2022 payroll totaling $28,672.60 and the December, 2022 PERS — Public Employees Retirement System — contribution for $4,726.91.

• Accepted the reconciliation of revenues and expenses for both November and December of 2022.

The next business meeting for the Bude Board of Aldermen is scheduled for 6 p.m., on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at town hall on Railroad Avenue.