MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Trouble is brewing among Mobile city leaders, due to the city's storm water management plan. For months, there has been debate and controversy around that plan and the contract with Mobile Group Inc.
The city's head of public services, however, is now lashing out.
John Bell, the executive director of public services, sent out a letter accusing city council members of making business or contract decisions based on skin color.
That letter sparked a firestorm shortly afterwards and now City Council President Reggie Copeland wants Bell fired.
- Letter from John Bell to Reggie Copeland and City Council.
- Letter from Reggie Copeland to Mayor Sam Jones.
- Letter from Mayor Sam Jones to John Bell.
FOX10 has learned that angry emails from Bell started going out as early as April 15. That's when local environmentalist Casi Callaway with Mobile Baykeeper received an email from Bell.
"I don't want to get into a tit for tat battle with Mr. Bell. That's not the point. The point is very simple. We have a broken storm water system; let's fix it," she said.
The letter was in response to public comments made by Callaway about ongoing storm water management issues and the city choosing to keep Mobile Group Inc. as a consultant.
Bell writes in-part, "I would like to see your engineering assumptions and calculations. I will then compare them to my engineering analysis."
The letter continues saying in-part, "If you are using a Ouija board or voodoo, I'll admit that I cannot compete."
"We have been working with the City of Mobile now for a year and a half to get them in compliance with their permits. They haven't been in compliance for over five years, yet they've been paying this company over and over and over again," Callaway said.
It's the second angry letter regarding storm water and Mobile Group that has surfaced from Bell.
Copeland received one as well after questioning storm water expenses and Mobile Group, which is minority-owned, at the city council meeting, Tuesday April 23.
Bell said he felt his character was being called into question, so he fired back shortly after as seen in the letter posted above.
City leaders expect to discuss the issue during the next city council meeting on Tuesday, April 30.
The mayor's office said John Bell was on vacation and unavailable for comment.
In a letter to bell, Mayor Jones asked that he refrain from using the city letterhead when writing his own personal opinions.
Mayor Jones also said that Bell must now go through his office before discussing the storm water issue any further.
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