Former Mayor Sam Jones was introduced Monday as a member of the Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners of the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System.
Jones, who lost his re-election bid as Mayor to Sandy Stimpson last year, told members of the media the meeting went well before heading into an executive session with other commissioners to discuss ongoing litigation.
Asked how it felt to be back in the public eye after leaving office in November, Jones said he’s remained a public figure because of media attention.
“Y’all wouldn’t let me get out of the process,” he said.
Jones’ nomination to the board divided the council and resulted in two 4-3 votes against the move. Council President Gina Gregory and councilors Joel Daves, John Williams and Bess Rich voted against the appointment.
The issue, which fell along racial lines, stalled city business until Stimpson came out in support of Jones, leading Daves and Gregory to change their votes. Rich voted against the appointment and Williams was absent for the final 5-1 vote in support.
Jones refused to speak to Lagniappe after his first meeting.
“I don’t give interviews to Lagniappe,” he said.
In other business, MAWSS Executive Director Charles Hyland announced the utility’s success in the Alabama Water and Pollution Association awards. MAWSS picked up the Best Operated Plant award and an Award of Excellence, which will be presented later this summer in Mobile.
Hyland also addressed recent concerns clear-cutting activity by MAWSS. He said the utility is interested in hearing comments and concerns from residents, but added he was “confident” that the work was being handled properly.
He said MAWSS was working with Art Dyas to make sure the clear cutting complies with Best Management Practices. Hyland added trees would be planted in the affected areas.
“Water quality is of the utmost importance to us and we’ll make sure we take steps to protect it,” Hyland said.