Houston hires city clerk

CITY OF HOUSTON FLAG

HOUSTON – City leaders chose their next top administrator and bookkeeper at a special called meeting of the Houston Board of Aldermen June 11.

Janie Dendy was named the new Houston City Clerk and will replace Bobby Sanderson who is slated to retire later this month. A native of Algoma, Dendy has lived in Houston with her husband Tommy since 1984.

“This was a difficult decision to make and one I prayed about a lot,” said Dendy, who has been a bookkeeper for Dr. Victor Horn for the past 29 years. “I’m excited about this and feel it will be a new opportunity for me.”

The motion to hire Dendy was made by Alderman-At-Large Barry Springer and seconded by District 3 Alderman Frank Thomas with District 1 Alderman Tony Uhiren and District 4 Alderman Willie Mae McKinney supporting it. District 2 Alderman Shenia K. Jones voted against it.

“I want people to know I have nothing against Janie, but I am concerned about the process we went through tonight,” said Jones. “What happened to the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 candidates we discussed.”

Jones was referring to an earlier board work session where aldermen were asked to rank their candidates.

“We had about 10 legitimate candidates and we narrowed that down to about three or four,” said Springer. “During the interviews I was looking for someone who could work with the public and keep books.”

Jones said one of the candidates had an accounting degree and felt the work session brought that person to the top of the list. Jones said she felt having a process and not following it was not fair to other candidates or the community.

“Why advertise we are looking for certain things and then not follow that process,” said Jones. “I’m not happy with that.”

Thomas pointed out the city does need to create a job description and detail duties of the city clerk.

“But we did have a plan and a process,” said Thomas. “This lady finished first in that process.”

Sanderson announced his resignation in early April.

Sanderson then presented the board with a timeline that would see the city pick the top five candidates for interviews, schedule a work session with the mayor and aldermen for early May and the hiring of a new clerk by the middle of May. Sanderson also informed the board at that time he had vacation time that would need to be taken prior to June 30.

Sanderson suggested the board hire the new clerk as a deputy clerk for the interim period and then appoint that person as city clerk with other city officers at the scheduled July 2 board meeting.

The Houston City Clerk position pays about $33,000 a year with benefits.

The clerk’s post is charged with administering the day-to-day operations of the city under the direction of the Houston Board of Aldermen. The clerk is responsible for developing a budget and monitoring revenue and disbursing checks for the city. The clerk is listed as the city’s agent of record on various grants, work projects and programs involving state and federal funds. The clerk also acts as the city’s personnel director and formally records all city board actions through board minutes.

Sanderson has been Houston’s City Clerk for nine years. Joyce East was the previous City Clerk and served for more than three decades.

The board also voted to take Sanderson’s name off the city’s checking account and authorize Dendy to fill out bank forms allowing her to write checks for the city.

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