Prichard Mayor Troy Ephriam accepted the resignation of Public Safety Director Mike Rowland today, ending confusion about his employment with the city.
Reports began surfacing Wednesday that Rowland, who was appointed by Ephriam in October, was on “vacation” or leave due to lack of payment from the City of Prichard.
According to a press release from the city, the resignation was accepted Thursday and is effective immediately but Melanie Baldwin, Prichard’s media relations officer, said Rowland had been expected to return on Monday after taking a leave of absence this week.
The leave was taken in the middle of a controversy amongst the members of Prichard’s City Council, who were not involved with Rowland’s appointment. The council had failed to provide funding for the position of Public Safety Director.
“It was a City Council issue, and they weren’t going to fund the position. It’s a matter of, for lack of better term, making parties happy,” Baldwin said. “For Mike, (he) was not going to put any more stress on the city than it needs to have. It was easier for him to remove himself from the position.”
In accepting the resignation, Mayor Ephriam said he is “grateful to Chief Rowland for his service to the city and regrets that he was not able to stay
“We continue to make progress in our search for a replacement and are close to securing a new candidate,” Ephriam said in a press release.
Ephriam said he anticipates naming a new Police Chief in the very near future.