Former Mobile Public Works boss threatened employees with “the box,” public records show

Former Mobile Public Works Senior Director Greg Beckham (FOX10 News)

In May 2017, the Mobile Senior Director of Public Works at the time, Greg Beckham, sent out an email to several of his employees with a meme of himself, the message, “I don't always have problems with my staff, but when I do, I place them in the box... stay loyal my friends." That’s just one of more than 5,000 emails FOX10 News Investigates has obtained through an Open Records Act request. FOX10 News Investigates filed the request after public works employees reached out with concerns of intimidation and harassment in the workplace. One city employee sent FOX10 News Investigates a photo of “the box,” a small room with a long table and an old projection-screen television. Employees described it as a place where Beckham would send staff members as a form of punishment. Instead of reporting to their regular work duties, employees would sit all day in “the box.” For the first time, the city of Mobile has opened up about “the box.” Spokesperson Laura Byrne released a statement about it, saying, "the city immediately terminated the training tool commonly referred to as the box as soon as the administration was made aware of the program." Byrne said that action took place on March 8 this year, which means Beckham's "box" program was going on for nearly a year before the city administration took action. Beckham stopped working for the city in June, and it's not clear whether he resigned or if he was terminated. FOX10 News Investigates reached out to Beckham for a comment, but he hasn't responded. FOX10 News Investigates will continue to ask questions about why the punitive "box" treatment went on for so long and will continue to search through the emails to bring you more information on how business was conducted with your tax dollars.

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