City planner Bounds quits

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 18, 2002

[12/18/02]]City Planner Ronnie Bounds quit on the spot Tuesday, becoming the second veteran Vicksburg department head to leave the city’s payroll this month.

In a letter, Bounds, a city employee for 26 years and head of the Planning and Community Development Division for 14, said he had long awaited an administration with the vision of the present city board, but indicated he could not work with the Mayor and Aldermen.

On Dec. 4, Vicksburg Gas Department Superintendent Billy Joe Quimby, a 21-year employee, submitted his resignation for undisclosed reasons. He said the job had become more stressful than before, including a new policy fixing break and lunch times for all employees.

Bounds said this morning that as far as he was concerned his resignation takes effect immediately, but he would work a notice period if requested.

“I think it is time for me to leave,” Bounds said in answer to the question of why he was resigning. “It has become clear to me that my experience, work ethic, dedication and loyalty are of no interest to this administration.”

“We are sad to see Ronnie leave,” Mayor Laurence Leyens said this morning. “He has made important contributions to this community.

“I am sad personally,” Leyens continued, adding that he considered Bounds a personal friend.

Leyens said Bounds may be retained as a consultant and that the departing planner had recommended his own replacement. “We plan to interview him Friday,” Leyens said.

The position of city planner was for many years the top-paying job on the city payroll. With the addition of three staff attorneys, a strategic planner and computer specialist plus higher pay for the police chief, the post has slipped in the rankings to eighth at $68,370.

Bounds said with 26 years of service, he has enough years to qualify for a pension. A Vicksburg native, Bounds came to the Planning Department in 1976 as assistant city planner under Jimmy Gouras, the city’s first city planner. When Gouras left the city to form his own urban planning firm, Bounds became city planner.

Bounds wrote the Mayor and Aldermen a one-page letter saying he was proud of the Planning and Community Development Division and of the staff’s professionalism and individual accomplishments. He also said he would miss working with the members of the department.

“This administration has a vision that I have carried in my heart for many years,” Bounds wrote. “With every vision comes expectation. With expectation comes reality. Reality is confronting and dealing with the details and issues that visionaries tend to overlook or at best trivialize. One needs to remember that the utterance of a vision does not make it a reality. Time, hard work, dedication, direction and experience make it a reality.”

Bounds said his colleagues in city planning said he was the longest-serving city planner in Mississippi.

The department is housed in former Carnegie public library building on Monroe Street and oversees applications for grants and their expenditure, plus coordinating zoning, building standards and many other initiatives.