City pays former city clerk more than $1.3M

VICKSBURG — Since City Clerk Paul Rogers retired in June 1999, he has kept working for the city — two years as a consultant, eight as the city’s strategic planner, and from 2009 until March, working part-time on the city’s 2008 audit.

Records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show the city paid Rogers $1.36 million over that 12 ½-year span, including more than $200,000 of the $360,484 paid for the 2008 audit, The Vicksburg Post reports.

The work began two months after Rogers retired as Vicksburg’s city clerk. And for most of that time, he was Vicksburg’s highest-paid employee, the newspaper said.

“It was not a matter of him asking us, but us asking him,” said Laurence Leyens, who was mayor for much of Rogers’ return. “Paul Rogers is without question the most capable and informed person in the state when it comes to municipal finance and accounting.”

Rogers salary was just over $68,000 a year when he retired after 22 years as city clerk and comptroller. Two months later, he was rehired as a part-time consultant at $60 an hour.

In July 2001, the Leyens administration hired him as strategic planner at $98,500 a year — nearly $42,000 more than the mayor’s salary. It was boosted to $73.94 an hour, or $153,800 a year, in October 2005.

Leyens and Rogers said, then and later, that Rogers’ salary was negotiated. Rogers said he based it on the number of hours he would be working.

“I was supposed to work 40 hours, but the job really took 50 to 60,” Rogers said, “so I based the salary on what I would make working 50 to 60 hours a week. Toward the end, (in 2011-12) I was losing money, about $1,000 a month.”

Leyens said, “He really saved the city money, because we would have had to hire three people to do what he did.”

Rogers retired again in June 2009, as the Leyens administration was leaving office. The new Winfield administration hired him a month later to work part-time on the 2008 budget. From July until the end of 2009, he was paid about $36,000. In 2010, he was paid $75,716.

In July 2011, the board hired him full time to work on the 2008 audit. He was paid $106,821 in 2011 and about $6,997 in 2012.

“We had found ourselves way behind on the audits,” North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said.

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