Mobile mayor appoints John Peavy as public works senior director - FOX10 News | WALA

Mobile mayor appoints John Peavy as public works senior director

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Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson has selected former councilman John Peavy to be the city's senior director of public works.

He will oversee streets and sidewalks, storm drain maintenance, equipment services, ditches and right-of-way and parks maintenance. He will also act as interim executive director of public works, according an announcement by the city. 

Peavy began his tenure with the Stimpson administration in 2016 charged with managing capital improvement projects with a focus on accessibility and environmental compliance. 

“John has significantly advanced capital projects and is uniquely qualified due to his previous experience at city hall,” said Stimpson in a news release. “He has demonstrated outstanding leadership, and I have full confidence in his ability to move our city forward.”

Before joining the Mayor’s team, Peavy served as the president of the Peavy Construction Company Inc. specializing in highways, small bridges and other infrastructure projects. Prior to taking ownership of the company, he was the operations officer at Spring Hill College and worked for the City of Mobile as the grant-in-aid coordinator. Peavy is a graduate of Mobile's Davidson High School and holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science and a master's degree in public administration from the University of South Alabama.

“I am thrilled to be asked by Mayor Stimpson to lead the fine men and women of the public works department of the City of Mobile,” said Peavy in the announcement. “Assuming the position my father once held is extremely gratifying. I look forward to the challenged associated with this position and serving the citizens of the City.”

Bill Harkins, executive director of public works, is leaving his post at the city to pursue a new career path in the Catholic Church. His final day at City Hall is Friday, May 11. 

Harkins' departure comes amid troubles within the Public Works Department. 

Former Municipal Garage employee Tyrone Holley is currently under investigation by city attorneys and the Mobile County District Attorney's Office for possible misreporting of time worked. 

The city fired Holley in March. 

He denies any wrongdoing, and has filed an appeal with the Personnel Board. 

That apparently isn't the only problem at Public Works. 

The city is also internally investigating upper management, after employees showed up in numbers to the Mobile City Council meetings the last two weeks in a row demanding changes at the department, citing allegations of intimidation and harassment by managers. 

While FOX10 News investigated those complaints, our Investigative Team requested copies of emails from top officials in Public Works, including those of Harkins, to see how management had been communicating this year. 

It's been more than eight weeks since that request for those public documents, and the city has yet to turn them over. 

FOX10 News reached out to Harkins for a comment, but have not heard back. 

He did, however, post the following statement on his Facebook page:

"It has been an honor to serve the citizens of our great City. We have made great strides towards becoming One Mobile - there is still work to be done and the only way to get there is a team effort."

Mayor Stimpson was not available for an interview, but commented about Harkins in Friday's news release. 

“Bill has earned my gratitude and respect for his honorable service to the citizens of Mobile,” said Stimpson. “Under his leadership, we raised the bar for City services and improved the quality of life for our residents including expanding recycling efforts and implementing the City’s very first litter patrol.”

The city will conduct a search for a full time executive director, according to the city's announcement. Greg Beckham will continue on as the Senior Director of Public Services supervising  garbage, trash, litter, recycling and urban forestry. 

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