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franklin county times

Wolfe retires, will take similar job in Pascagoula

By Staff
RETIREMENT Benny Wolfe, right, shakes hands with Chief Administrative Officer Ken Storms as he announces his retirement as director of Meridian's Public Works Department. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
June 27, 2001
Meridian Public Works Director Benny Wolfe announced his retirement Tuesday, opting to take a similar position in Pascagoula.
The move will allow Wolfe to draw income from both his retirement fund and his new salary.
Wolfe, 52, said his last day on the job will come at next Tuesday's city council meeting. He will be using accumulated vacation time for several weeks. His new job in Pascagoula will begin in mid-July.
According to Wolfe, the move will also allow him to begin a new retirement system in Pascagoula and give him the chance to earn health care benefits associated with Social Security.
Currently, state law prohibits retiring an employee under the old benefits system and then rehiring them back under the most recent system.
Wolfe made slightly more than $66,000 per year in his position with Meridian. He declined to say if the Pascagoula job pays more money.
Wolfe's resignation is the second time in three weeks that a department head within Mayor John Robert Smith's administration has announced his departure.
Police Chief Gregg Lewis announced his retirement on June 14 citing a "heavy toll" the position had taken on him personally during his seven years at the helm of the police department.
Smith was not present for either of the city hall shakeups because he is on a three week sabbatical at Harvard University to study government.
Wolfe said he and the mayor's relationship was fine.
October would have marked Wolfe's 10-year anniversary as head of the department. He began working for the city at age 17 working in the engineering department before working in the public works department.
Tommy Irby, assistant public works director, will serve as acting department director until a permanent replacement can be found.
Storms said a timeline for Wolfe's replacement will be determined by Smith.
During Wolfe's time at the helm of the department the city has never had to issue a "boil water" notice or been penalized by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3226, or e-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.