After the Mississippi Renewal Forum in October 2005, the state Department of Transportation turned a cold shoulder to many of the Forum's proposals for making Gulf Coast communities less dependent on highways and more attuned to mass transit and pedestrian-scale streets.
The leadership at DOT seemed little interested in new urbanist ways of doing things. Now, the SunHerald reports, the agency's head is being shown the door, partly because of his style of dealing with communities.
The newspaper reports:
"Mississippi Department of Transportation Executive Director Larry L. 'Butch' Brown said Tuesday afternoon he hadn’t decided how he’ll act on the ultimatum he received Tuesday -- to either resign by the end of today or be fired.
"Brown has been criticized for his spending practices at MDOT and what some perceive as heavy handedness when dealing with communities across the state, among other issues. He also reached a deal with Biloxi prosecutors in November that he would complete an anger-management course and in exchange the city would drop a public-intoxication charge against him. The deal stemmed from his early morning arrest at the Beau Rivage casino in Biloxi in the summer.
"Brown, who is battling cancer, said he was 'sideswiped' by the news the Mississippi Transportation Commission voted 2-1 behind closed doors Tuesday to demand he submit his resignation or be fired from his $144,000-a-year job. Newly elected Northern District Commissioner Mike Tagert was sworn in before the meeting and sided with Central District Commissioner Dick Hall, a longtime foe of the executive director, on Hall’s motion to force Brown to resign by today."
Brown, who has been at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston since Jan. 18, earlier announced his intention to resign in June. "I think it’s cruel and unusual for this action to be taken when I’m down and out,” the newspaper reported him as saying.