TOP PHOTO: This is a sight people won’t be seeing much longer as Jim Mullens drives away from the public works headquarters. Mullens is calling it a career at the end of the month.
Jim Mullens pauses from a busy Monday for a quick photo before he heads out to check on a project.
LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – In his deep voice, Jim Mullens said, “It’s just time for me to go. I have more time behind me than I have in front of me.” The man who was a member of the La Follette High School Class of 1964 has served as the director of public works for the City of La Follette since 2007 and will continue to serve until the end of June.
Mullens brought a multi-faceted work history with him when he took over public works. He spent the balance of his lifetime constructing roads and bridges as well as building pipelines and commercial buildings and even water treatment facilities. Some of his local projects included the widening of I-40 between Papermill Drive and Cedar Bluff Road at Knoxville and I-440 West at Nashville connecting I-65 to I-40.
Come July 1, Jim Mullens will have a change of address.
Being home was a perk for Mullens when he joined the public works department. , “I was hoping I was making a little bit of a difference in the city. There have been some improvements, and there needs to be many more,” he said of his accomplishments at the city.
Though Mullens is retiring from the city, he continues as the pastor at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church at Jacksboro. That’s a calling he answered in 1993.
A member of Mullens’ church, Dan Gearing, said, “There’s not a finer individual have I had the honor to know. As a member of Mt. Zion, I have seen Jim give unconditional love and support to the community. It is my great honor to know such a person as Jim. May he always be there to watch over his flock.”
It’s been a year of change for Mullens. His wife Joyce passed away in February.
At May’s City of LaFollette workshop, Mayor Mike Stanfield read Mullens letter of retirement. Mullens (above) told the council he had struggled all weekend with the decision and had decided it was time. “I’m not responsible for anything but an old tomcat, Jasper, at this point in my life, and he’s pretty low maintenance, so it’s just time” said Mullens.
Mullens (right) is pictured at a project on North 21st Street. He’s getting an update from Darian Foust (left).
Mullens watches Brandon Stanford (left) and Darian Foust as they size up each side of the driveway tile they are opening up.
Mullens took over the public works department when Mike Stanfield, now mayor, retired from the post. “I’ve known Jim for years. He’s just a really good person, and I hate to see him leave,” said Stanfield.
As far as any plans go after June 30, Mullens doesn’t really have any. However, one thing is certain. “I intend to take it a little bit easier,” Mullens said. Good luck with that, Jim. We wish you the best, and thanks for a job well done. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 06/23/2020-6AM)