Jackson County

So what does an assistant city manager make these days? Apparently, a tidy sum.

Frank Corder has been hired as the assistant city manager for the city of Pascagoula.
Frank Corder has been hired as the assistant city manager for the city of Pascagoula. klnelson@sunherald.com

The city has hired former City Councilman Frank Corder in the position of assistant city manager, something that’s new for the city. Pascagoula hasn’t had one of those since the early 2000s.

The position for hire appeared on the agenda for the City Council’s first meeting last week, but they took it off, observers said, and announced a July 11 work session.

But by the end of the week, Corder was at work at City Hall.

He didn’t need a vote of the council. He was hired at the will of the new interim City Manager Mike Mangum, former Jackson County supervisor, whom the City Council hired for the next six months.

Mangum said filling the assistant city manager position “is a necessity at this junction, given the vision of the new administration and the volume of work facing the city.”

Corder starts at a salary of $89,900. Mangum’s is $134,000.

Newly elected councilman Stephen Burrow said he has gotten calls and comments about the hire, and as a councilman he agrees with Mangum’s choice of Corder.

Burrow said Corder will be more than a spokesman for the city. He said he has acquired contacts with state and federal officials that will be of value and he appreciated Corder helping lead the transition team for six new council members.

“I guess talking about salary is fair game, but I certainly have no problem with Mike Mangum hiring Frank,” Burrow said.

“Part of the mayor’s plan is to reorganize, looking at the structure of city government and see how it can be improved,” Burrow said. “ Frank’s input on that will be invaluable.”

At the first meeting, the City Council also eliminated a position that was newly created by the former administration — Director of Economic Development and Residential Recruitment. That position was advertised and had been filled at a salary range of $56,900 to $84,000.

The position of assistant city manager was created when Kay Kell was city manager and filled in the years before Hurricane Katrina in 2005 by Jamie Miller, who is now the director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. But it hasn’t been filled since.

Corder has been working in an unofficial capacity as the spokesman for the transition team that was moving the city from leadership under the old City Council to the new one.

Pascagoula voters replaced almost its whole City Council in the last election, except for Scott Tipton. The new administration is Mayor Dane Maxwell, Councilwoman-at-Large Jennifer Colmer and councilmen the Rev. Willie C. Jones, George Wolverton (who has served before), Burrow, Matt Parker and Tipton.

As spokesman for the transition, Corder was in a position to alert city employees to changes that were coming with the new administration.

Former City Attorney Eddie Williams said Corder told him two weeks before the council’s first meeting that he would be out and the city would hire a new city attorney, which it did — Ryan Frederic, who had been working as an attorney for Jackson County. Frederic’s salary is $121,000.

Williams had brought up an ethics issue involving two people running for city council. That issue was resolved by dividing the law firm that represents the Jackson County Utility Authority.

Corder said in late June that after the new council was sworn in, he would continue in the role of transition spokesman until the city appointed an interim city manager.

Corder knows the city, Maxwell said, “Frank has a wealth of knowledge and experience in government and the private sector with a tremendous base of contacts ... that will benefit the city for years to come.”

Corder attended the University of Southern Mississippi, but does not have a degree. In the city’s press release, it lists his accomplishments:

▪  As former City Councilman for Ward 4, he served on the Mississippi Municipal League’s Elections Committee and the National League of Cities’ Information Technology and Communications Advisory Board; Democratic Governance Council and the Small Cities Advisory Board. He has earned Basic, Advanced and Professional Development levels of the Certified Municipal Official training from the Mississippi Municipal League. And he graduated from Pascagoula High School.

▪  He has experience in banking, property/business management, retail sales, restaurant/food service, political and business consulting, radio and television hosting and government, it said.

▪  Over the years, Corder has served as branch manager for Hancock Bank, Regional Coordinator for Voter ID and Tidelands consultant with the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office and the Municipal Elections Coordinator for the Mississippi Republican Party. Corder was also the lead writer for Y’all Politics, a Mississippi political analysis and commentary site, and managed his family’s business, Corder’s, in downtown Pascagoula.