Just hours after Mobilians elected Sandy Stimpson to be the mayor of Mobile effective Nov. 4, three retirements from prominent people within Mayor Sam Jones administration were announced on Aug. 28.
Chief of Staff Al Stokes, Mobile Police Chief Micheal Williams and City Finance Director Barbara Malkove will be retiring. Other people in Jones’ administration are taking the wait and see approach to the changing of the guard.
Public Services Executive Director John Bell said he would not retire. In the legal department, city attorney Larry Wettermark and Flo Kessler said they serve at the pleasure of the mayor, but didn’t say whether or not they would be leaving on Nov. 4.
The decision to retire for Stokes, who served under Jones and Mike Dow, came after the announcement of the election results.
“Until 7 p.m. last night, I wasn’t thinking about retirement,” he said. “But I’ve been in this position for 19 and half years. I am satisfied that my investment of time and family to Mobile, my hometown, has been extraordinary and I’m proud of it. I have come back home. I am happy.”
Stokes said there are a lot of options, but he’s looking for something that makes him excited to go to work like his position did for nearly two decades. He said if the next step is just gardening, then he’s happy with that as well.
Stokes, who has worked for governments for 30 years, said his time in public service has had no downside.
The chief of staff also said he would be helping whoever Stimpson puts in his place so that there is a smooth transition on Nov. 4.
Williams was much more quiet about his retirement. During the pre-council meeting, the chief of police said he would retire in the next 60 days. He told media he would speak, but then said he would be sending out a press release later.
Malkove had already been planning retirement before the election.
When asked if he planned on retiring, Bell, who has been at the helm of public services for a long time, simply said, “no.”
Bell has been the subject of recent controversy with letters accusing councilors Reggie Copeland and Bess Rich of racism.
Wettermark didn’t say whether he would stay on as city attorney, but said he would work to make the city better.
“I will do everything I can to make (Stimpson) successful,” he said. “I will continue to do my job.”
Wettermark and Kessler are appointed by the mayor so it is unknown if Stimpson will keep them on.
Fire Chief Stephen Dean said he didn’t plan to retire and that he had a lot of offer.
When media asked city spokesperson Barbara Drummond her plans, she did not stop to talk.
Immediately after Stimpson’s win on Aug. 27, the mayor-elect said it was too early to start thinking about administration changes. Less than 24 hours later, he will have to start thinking who will be over the city’s police, staff and finances.