City’s finance director placed on leave

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Selma’s finance director has been placed on 30-days paid administrative leave following an executive session of the City Council Monday night.

Finance Director Vickey B. Locke took the position in March 2003 after a months-long search process by the City Council. According to Council President George Evans, there are no current plans to fill the finance director position.

In a written statement, Mayor James Perkins Jr. noted that the council agreed to not re-appoint Locke to her position at the beginning of the next fiscal year, Oct. 1, 2003.

Evans said Locke was not to blame for the action, but instead did the best job she could in the current situation. &uot;And there’s no blame on anybody,&uot; Evans said.

He added that circumstances leading to the administrative leave weren’t going to disappear if she stayed and a restructuring of the finance department was the best solution.

City officials did not elaborate on the specific circumstances. Perkins declined to comment on the reasons for Locke being placed on administrative leave because they were discussed in executive session.

In his written statement, Perkins noted that the office restructuring includes Acting City Treasurer Sequita Oliver being named assistant city treasurer and Cynthia Mitchell, temporary administrative assistant, being named acting city treasurer.

Mitchell has an accounting degree and more than 25 years of accounting experience.

Charles W. Polmatier, a Certified Public Accountant with Borland Benefield, the city’s financial auditors, will be hired to assist the finance department over the next 90 days.

Councilwoman Jean Martin said that Locke’s being placed on leave does not involve any question of misuse of funds. &uot;This is a matter of what a finance office and finance department of a city should be and how it should be run,&uot; Martin said.

The decision to place Locke on administrative leave came during an executive session Monday night, the stated reasons for which were pending litigation and good name and character. Perkins, the council, City Attorney Jimmy Nunn and Polmatier were present for the session.

Locke came to Selma with 22 years of experience in city government. Starting as a clerk with the City of Montgomery when she was 19, Locke worked her way up to comptroller before leaving to start her own business.

As comptroller, Locke was the administrator for all federal and state grants for the city, as well as capital project funds.