Hattiesburg, Mississippi – During the last council meeting of August, Mayor Toby Barker announces his reappointment of the remaining members of his administrative cabinet, including:
- Lamar Rutland, Director of Engineering
- Ronnie Perkins, Director of Public Works
- Alan Howe, Director of Water and Sewer
- Chris McGee, Director of Parks and Recreation
- Andrew Ellard, Director of Urban Development
- Sherrocko Stewart, Fire Chief
- Peggy Sealy, Police Chief
- Phillip McSwain, Municipal Court Clerk
- Burnice Wesley Curry, IV, Municipal Court Judge
- Brian Bledsoe, Municipal Court Judge
- Gay Polk-Payton, Municipal Court Judge Pro Tem
“In our first term, we formed a leadership team that embodied the best of our city’s talent, diversity and work ethic,” said Barker. “The citizens of Hattiesburg overwhelmingly endorsed their efforts in the June election, and we now look to the future, ready to continue the task of making much-needed improvements across every ward and neighborhood.
Barker is also reappointing the following slate of prosecutors and public defenders for Municipal Court:
- Anna Rush, Municipal Prosecutor Post 1
- Stephen Adamson, Municipal Prosecutor Post 2
- Elizabeth Porter, Municipal Prosecutor Pro Tem
- Shakita Taylor, Municipal Public Defender
- Benjamin Thornton, Municipal Public Defender
Barker added, “In addition to Ann Jones, Randy Pope and Kermas Eaton, this entire team has steered our city toward a sturdy financial foundation, tackled large-scale projects and made great headway on improving customer service and operations over the last four years – not to mention doing much of that work in the midst of a pandemic. I look forward to working with them as we continue our path toward being a premier city in the Gulf South.”
This slate will be on the Hattiesburg City Council agenda for review and approval on Tuesday, August 17.
About Director Nominations
Lamar Rutland, Director of Engineering – Rutland was appointed as the director of engineering in 2014 under Mayor Johnny DuPree. He was reappointed by Barker in 2017, and he has directed many infrastructure upgrades and projects throughout the city during his tenure. Rutland is a native of Hattiesburg and graduated from Christian Brothers University in Memphis. Prior to coming to the City of Hattiesburg, he worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg.
Ronnie Perkins, Director of Public Works – Perkins was first appointed by Barker as the Parks and Recreation director in 2018, then director of Public Works. He is a long-time community member in Palmer’s Crossing who graduated from Forrest County Agricultural High School and attended Alcorn State University. Perkins came to the City from Resinall where he worked for 13 years in a leadership capacity.
Alan Howe, Director of Water and Sewer – Howe was appointed as Water and Sewer director in January 2018, coming to the City with more than 20 years of leadership experience in plant operations across a variety of industries. Prior to this role, he served as the director of operations with Pearl River County Utility Authority. Howe is an alumnus of The University of Southern Mississippi and he is a certified industrial wastewater treatment operator.
Chris McGee, Director of Parks and Recreation – In 2018, Barker announced McGee as the programming director for Parks and Recreation. He came to the City of Hattiesburg after retiring from The University of Southern Mississippi. There, he served as an adjunct professor and associate director of facilities in the Department of Recreational Sports for more than 20 years. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree with an emphasis in Coaching Sports Administration and a Master of Science Degree with an emphasis in Sports Administration.
Andrew Ellard, Director of Urban Development – Ellard was announced as director of Urban Development in 2017 when Barker merged the Federal and State Programs department with the Urban Development Department. A Hattiesburg native, Ellard came to the City in this capacity after serving as a city manager for the City of Eagleville, Tennessee. He has more than 12 years of city administration experience, including more than nine with the City of Hattiesburg. Prior to moving to Eagleville, he served as project manager and interim director of Federal and State Programs.
Sherrocko Stewart, Fire Chief – Barker announced Stewart as fire chief in 2018. He has more than 24 years of fire service experience, which includes 12 years of service with the Mississippi Air National Guard where he spent two military deployments as a flight medic.
Prior to the City, he served as a station captain for the Jackson Evers Airport Fire Department. He is a graduate of Mississippi Valley State University. In addition to his many certifications and credentials regarding firefighting, he also holds his EMT certification.
Peggy Sealy, Police Chief – Sealy was announced as assistant chief in December of 2017 and served alongside Chief Anthony Parker for three years. Her career in law enforcement began in the late 80s when she served as a meter maid for the department. She later applied for and graduated from the police academy in 1993. First assigned to the Palmer’s Community and later to the Briarfield Community, she was one of the first officers to deploy community policing at the neighborhood level. The relationships she began building then provided a firm foundation for the community policing philosophy she continues to practice and that is now shared across the department.
Over the course of her career, she has worked in patrol, detectives and internal affairs. She has subsequently worked her way from sergeant to lieutenant to captain and to assistant chief – now to chief. After Parker’s retirement at the end of 2020, Sealy assumed the responsibilities of Police Chief and is being appointed officially in this capacity for Barker’s next term.
Phillip McSwain, Municipal Court Clerk – McSwain has served as Municipal Court Clerk since 2017. With a vast amount of office and clerical experience, including his time spent with the Forrest County Justice Court system where he served as deputy clerk, he continues to leads the department through software upgrades, operational management needs and more.
Judge Bernice Wesley Curry, IV, Municipal Court Judge – Barker appointed Curry to Municipal Court Judge in 2017. He has served in that position, as well as the justice court judge for Forrest County District One (since 2011). Prior to this, he practiced law in Forrest County routinely dealing with issues present in the justice court system. His background also includes serving with the Mississippi Supreme Court and working as a clerk for the Mississippi Court of Appeals.