Author: Dale Liesch

Questions remain over nonprofit VP’s status under Hatch Act

As the Mobile Housing Board of Commissioners moves toward transitioning all employees from the entity’s nonprofit Mobile Development Enterprises, questions remain about how the proposed move will impact State Rep. Adline Clarke’s status under a law meant to prohibit employees paid by federal grants from taking partisan office. Clarke, a Democrat, is currently vice president at MDE, and it is unclear how her role will change when the Mobile County Personnel Board redefines the nonprofit’s positions under the direction of MHB. Board Vice Chairman Reid Cummings said MDE employees would have to reapply for the positions. Clarke and former MHB Executive Director Dwayne Vaughn previously told Lagniappe that because Clarke works for a nonprofit her position is not subject to the Hatch Act. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) confirmed this week that employees of a nonprofit are regulated by the Hatch Act only if their salaries are paid 100 percent from Community Services Block Grants or Head Start funds. Lagniappe made a formal request in a June 7 email to MHB attorney Raymond Bell for records related to grant funding for all MBE and MHB salaries. Bell responded on June 12 with “Please send this request to the Housing Board.” Lagniappe also asked Clarke through email how she was paid, among other questions, but she did not respond. In response to a previous email sent earlier in...

Read More

Prichard councilman continues campaign for expanded transit

If a local city councilman has his way, Prichard and other small communities in Mobile County will be able to make their own decisions when it comes to mass transit. Funding will be the biggest obstacle facing the proposal Prichard City Councilman Lorenzo Martin has been working on since the Mobile City Council voted to cut funding to WAVE Transit routes in Prichard, Chickasaw and other areas of the county in 2016. “To all municipalities outside of Mobile, we have a responsibility to the handicapped, elderly, women and children and all those that are in need of and use public transportation,” Martin wrote in a letter. “I am proposing a countywide public transportation authority that will work and speak on behalf of the citizens of Mobile County.” Trying to find the needed revenue to either replace the previous WAVE routes or add a new service would be “daunting” for any single municipality to take on, Martin wrote. “Together, we can work on [an] authority that will better serve our community and the rural areas for years to come.” The Mobile City Council cut almost $700,000 from WAVE’s budget in fall 2015, before officially cutting the routes in 2016. In a phone interview June 12, Martin said he expects the authority would have to spend from $700,000 to $1 million to re-establish the WAVE routes in Prichard and other portions...

Read More

Council hears complaints of excessive police force

Antwen Ball, 17, said an officer with the Mobile Police Department tackled him and slammed his head into the ground before taking him into custody on Joe Cain Day this year. Ball told members of the Mobile City Council during its regular meeting on Tuesday he believes the officer in question used excessive force when the teenager simply asked another officer why a fellow parade attendee was being arrested. He was later charged with disorderly conduct, but told councilors it was the officer who acted disorderly. Ball said while he was talking with one officer, another arrived and asked him if there was a problem. He said “no,” and proceeded to leave the area. That’s when Ball said he was tackled. For Ball’s mother, Mobile native Glenda Wright, the incident highlights an ongoing problem with racism within the city and its police force. “It’s not right what’s occurring in the city,” Wright said. “ … There’s racial profiling in the city.” Wright told councilors her son had worked as an intern with a police department on the West Coast and wasn’t the type of person to get in an altercation with law enforcement. “He’s never been in any altercation,” Wright said. “He was raised to be a decent citizen. It’s ridiculous that he has to fight for for his freedom against those who abused him.” Ball said after interning...

Read More

Email message confirms mayoral campaign for Jones

Former Mobile Mayor Sam Jones will announce his intention to run again for the city’s top office on Saturday, June 17 at Greater Nazaree Baptist Church, according to an email from the [email protected] account. On Tuesday afternoon, Jones confirmed he would be having a press conference on Saturday to announce his mayoral run. He gave no additional details. The message itself points to an “important campaign announcement” by Jones at 4:30 p.m. at the church. The email follows months of speculation and several sources confirming that Jones would run against incumbent Mayor Sandy Stimpson in the August contest. Over...

Read More

SMG names general manager for Mobile facilities

After an extensive search, Kendall Wall has been selected as SMG’s general manager for the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center, Mobile Civic Center and the Mobile Saenger Theater. Wall has 30 years of experience involving operations and management of public facilities. Most recently, he served as SMG’s General Manager at the Florence Civic Center (South Carolina) for the past 16 years. Wall’s experience encompasses diversity within the entertainment industry, as well as the convention and tourism entities that have produced strong results in revenue performance, economic development and facility expansion. During his time, the gross revenue at the facility has increased by 300 percent. “It is an exciting time in Mobile, and SMG is proud to be a part of the City’s vision,” says Regional Vice President Sam Voisin. “We look forward to strengthened success with Kendall Wall’s leadership and industry experience.” Wall is co-founder and past Chairman of the Florence Area Sports Council, member of the Florence CVB and Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Florence County Economic Development and Partnership, as well as a member of IAVM and IFEA associations. He has received national recognition from the industry ranging from the PAFMS-Ticketmaster award to being named multi-winner of the Prime Site Award by Events & Facilities Magazine. He is a graduate of PAFMS (Professional Association of Facility Management School) and Senior Executive Symposium at Cornell University....

Read More