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Mayor makes changes within some city departments

Demopolis Mayor John Laney announced last week several changes in the leadership and organization of city departments.

The changes made will effect the city’s public safety as well as public works and horticulture departments. With the changes, Demopolis Police Chief Tommie Reese will now serve in the new position of Public Safety Director. Both the police and fire departments will report to Reese. Reese remains the city’s chief of police and Vernon Waters remains fire chief, reporting to the public safety director.

Another change is combining the public works and horticulture departments. The new public works will be headed by Barbara Blevins, previously the horticulture department head. Mike Baker, previous superintendent of public works, was appointed to the position of manager of projects.

“In the months since I took office in November, I’ve had the opportunity to look at the operation of the city and the way it functions. The goal of these changes is to improve efficiency of the departments to benefit the citizens of Demopolis,” Laney said. “It allows us to eliminate duplication and to use people in a more efficient manner while taking advantage of their strengths.”

Laney said the re-organization will not lead to a reduction in the city’s workforce.

“No one’s job is in jeopardy, it’s just a re-arranging of the way we are doing things,” he said. “The driving force behind this is to improve the efficiency of the way the city operates so citizens feel they are receiving the services they should from their city government.”

Reese said he looks forward to his new role.

“I’m honored to fill the position that the mayor has chosen. I look forward to working with the fire and police departments to bring public safety to the forefront and improving coordination and communication between the departments. After almost 32 years in law enforcement, it feels good to play an increased role in the public safety of my hometown,” Reese said.

Barbara Blevins could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.