Pickens resigns from city

Staff writer

Peabody Public Works Director Darren Pickens resigned Wednesday, hours after Peabody City Council met in closed session to discuss personnel.

The council met in closed session for an hour Tuesday evening with Mayor Larry Larsen, interim City Administrator Mac Manning, and Police Chief Bruce Burke. No action was taken when the meeting returned to open session.

On Wednesday morning, Manning said Pickens resigned his position with the city as public works director, effective immediately.

“He resigned for personal reasons,” Manning said.

Ronnie Harms will fill the position on an interim basis.

Larsen confirmed the resignation Wednesday.

“I would personally like to thank him for his years of service to the city,” Larsen said. “But, yes, he did resign for personal reasons this morning and it is effective immediately.”

Pickens couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

In other business at the special meeting Tuesday evening, Larsen told the council that Leah Ottensmeier had resigned her position as city treasurer and another signatory needed to be added to the signature card for check writing at the Peabody State Bank. The council approved adding Manning to the list of names to sign checks for the city.

Council members went into an executive session for 20 minutes to discuss confidential data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of second parties. Included in the session were Larsen, Manning, and EBH Engineering representatives Darin Neufeld and Andrew Brunner. When the council returned to open session no action was taken.

The council met in open session with Neufeld and Brunner to discuss possible finance options for changes to Peabody’s infrastructure — specifically the water and sewer systems and city streets. Neufeld explained the approach that EBH would take to leverage grant money and funds from loan programs to assist the city. Following a lengthy discussion, the council members agreed to enter into an agreement with EBH to begin joint discussions on the most pressing issues for the community.

The firm will follow up in the next few months talking to city council members, employees who work with the problems daily, and interested community members. Neufeld will send an agreement of services for the council to consider by the Oct. 28 meeting date.

The next meeting of the Peabody City Council will be at 7 p.m. Monday in the city building.

 

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