It’s pretty safe to say that Mike Trest knows the ins and outs of Petal’s Public Works Department.
After all, he’d served as assistant director since early 2017, and became interim director around Christmas of last year when he stepped up to that position because of health issues with then-director Ken Bullock. So Trest, who earlier this month was appointed full-time director by the Petal Board of Aldermen after Bullock’s retirement, should have no problem continuing that role.
“(Ken and I) both had a mission in mind to improve the look and infrastructure of the city,” Trest said. “We both worked close together up until Christmas of 2018. Around Christmas, Ken had surgery and was never able to return back to full status here at the department.
“Ken finally retired last week and has left me to carry on our mission. I plan to continue to implement our goals that we were wanting to reach. The goals were simple: beautification of our city and improve the infrastructure. Our process has been hindered due to budget restraints, but we do what we can with what we have.”
Trest doesn’t plan to change much right off the bat, as certain policies – such as those involving inmates working with the department – have already been recently tweaked.
“We don’t have a whole lot of rules; we just expect you to do your job and get your job done,” he said. “That’s our main thing.”
Aldermen recently voted to allow Bullock, who had served with the Petal Police Department for approximately 34 years before joining Public Works in 2017, to transfer back to the police department in order to officially retire from that organization.
“I just want to say it’s been a wonderful opportunity to serve my community, my city, over the last several years,” Bullock said at the Oct. 15 board meeting. “I wasn’t ready or prepared to leave, but because of circumstances beyond my control, I’m having to retire.
“I’ve enjoyed working for the city, through the ups and downs, the good and bad. I love this city, I love the people and the citizens. Whatever I’ve given to them, they’ve given back to me tenfold, and I appreciate it. It means so much to me.”
Mayor Hal Marx said Bullock served the police force and the public works department extremely well during his tenure, and has no doubt that Trest is the right person to take over for him.
“(Bullock) came in, being a police officer, and was really able to do a great job of straightening things out and restoring some order down there,” Marx said. “He was off on medical leave for a number of months … and it just worked out that Ken’s health just never could get well enough for him to get to work, so he just took retirement.
“It was my recommendation to the board, based on Mike Trest’s performance while filling in for Ken, that he should be our choice to replace him as Public Works director, and that’s what they voted to do.”