Century’s Mayor Accused Of Using City Resources On Private Property

August 8, 2017

Century Mayor Henry Hawkins has been accused of using town equipment and employees to do work on private property.

At Monday night’s meeting of the Century Town Council, council President Ann Brooks said she received an anonymous letter alerting her of the situation.

Hawkins admitted that town resources had been used to dig up an old tank from the ground on property belonging to Wesley Chapel.

“That’s against our rules,” Brooks said.

The Jefferson Street church was heavily damaged, shifted off its foundation, by the February 2016 tornado that ripped through Century. The remains of the building were reduced to rubble after an arsonist set fire to it in October 2016. In early July, the church held a groundbreaking for a new facility.

NorthEscambia.com file photos, click to enlarge.


27 Responses to “Century’s Mayor Accused Of Using City Resources On Private Property”

  1. David Huie Green on August 10th, 2017 11:54 am

    “The phrase “separation of church and state” itself does not appear in the United States Constitution. The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.””

    This is true. The First Amendment prohibited Congress from favoring or disfavoring any particular religion.

    Then the 14th Amendment extended that prohibition down to the very smallest government entity, like the Town of Century. Thus, they can’t do favors for the Second United Pentecostal Presbyterian Church but not for the Fifth United Pentecostal Presbyterian Church. Doing so would be a form of establishment.

    Also true that has little to do with what was going on here — even though it would apply if some other church or even non-church asked for similar favors and was turned down. For the most part, this is about using public monies for private gain.

    It is interesting that some have no problem with elected officials breaking the law by illegally using public resources to help certain people if their heart was in the right place.

    I don’t personally care what Century does. It is very entertaining. Nonetheless, it is unwise to say, “The law should be changed so I will just ignore it.” Then anybody can break any law he dislikes.

    David for law-abiding citizens

  2. Chelleepea on August 9th, 2017 1:32 pm

    Dear RESIDENT, perhaps the town doing volunteer work should not be illegal. Banks and other businesses put in so many hours in volunteer work in their communities. I don’t see why city hall should be any different since they already are paid to do the city work. Community projects outside of city business that benefits the whole community should be ok…with council approval of course.

  3. Century Resident on August 9th, 2017 12:42 pm

    It just seems like no matter what the mayor does or tries to do some of you are going to find fault. This mayor goes beyond his call to help this community. Please Mr. Hawkins hang in there and keep helping us get our community back to what it use to be. I have so much respect for you and the pride you have taken to help make this place , a place where people will want to come live. Thank you for all you have already did for us.

  4. Mangler Malachi on August 9th, 2017 11:34 am

    To Mayor Hawkins: I want to believe you are a good man with a servant’s heart for your community. But golly gee! You need to quit puttin’ your cart in front of the mule! This isn’t the first time your well intentioned ideas have backfired in your face. You need to start learning from your mistakes! Take a minute to read the rulebook before just runnin’ off and doin’ stuff. Get your act together, Henry!

    To some of the most vociferous folks of NE.com: Is there something from Mayor Hawkins’ history that causes you to suspect him of corruption? Dangit if y’all don’t need to quit persecuting the Mayor every time he makes a mistake! Hold him accountable? Yes, definitely! But stop stompin’ on him so hard when he goofs up! Sheesh!

  5. Joel on August 9th, 2017 11:27 am

    Looks like what some folk want is for the mayor to be charged, have a trial and see justice served. Sounds great until one tallies all the costs and compares it to the cost of what the mayor did. His actions helped that historic church and the people of Century. What he did may have been wrong but it sure seems silly to waste so much money to punish an action that helped! What happened to common sense?

  6. Ex Century Resident on August 9th, 2017 10:44 am

    When good old Freddie was in office he did worse than that I did not see any complaints! I am still wondering how much he put in his pockets from what is suppose to be a splash pad. That is a joke! Stay strong Mayor Hawkins!! Nothing you do will be right as long as the next person can’t see a direct advantage!! Small town with smaller minded people!

  7. Keep up the good work on August 9th, 2017 10:31 am

    Well at least it was something that was done for someone else, and not like our previous Mayor, who had town employees doing ‘illegal work ‘ at his racetrack in a whole nother state . We’re are gonna give you the benefit of the doubt just like they gave him, that you didn’t know you wasn’t suppose to do that. Forgiven.

  8. bigbill1961 on August 9th, 2017 2:01 am


    The phrase “separation of church and state” itself does not appear in the United States Constitution. The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

    Whether the mayor was right or wrong has nothing to do with separation of church and state. It has to do with the inappropriate use of funds.

  9. mike on August 8th, 2017 9:10 pm

    Hang in there Henry!

    look, do it HOA style, If a resident won’t maintain their property, do it for them, and send them a bill. bill not paid in certain amount of time the property is seized by the city. lotta problems solved and revenue generated for the city. :)

  10. Resident on August 8th, 2017 7:54 pm

    >We are a small community. I don’t see a problem with the city doing volunteer /charity work around town that will benefit the community or a neighborhood

    The problem is it is illegal.

  11. Chelleepea on August 8th, 2017 7:48 pm

    We are a small community. I don’t see a problem with the city doing volunteer /charity work around town that will benefit the community or a neighborhood. If it was for an individual I would say differently but a church is a community organization just as city hall. Perhaps the mayor should have brought it to council before preceeding.

    I find the anonymous citizen who reported this anonymously troubling when everyone should work as a team with open communications.

  12. Sage2 on August 8th, 2017 6:40 pm

    I’ve known Henry Hawkins since he was a student (12-13 yrs. old)at Ferry Pass Jr. High in the ’60’s. He was an honest young man, taught well by his family to always do the right thing.
    It would seem Henry has been shakin’ the bush in Century…trying to kick start a town that has lost its pride and ability to solve problems.
    Remember this: No good deed goes unpunished…it is what it is!
    Political assassination by rumor and innuendo is the way today!

    Stand strong Henry, like all storms this too shall pass.

  13. Julie Booth-Moran on August 8th, 2017 6:33 pm

    Thank you Karen White! I think you & I are on the same page. The Town of Century and the people & Businesses suffered terribly from the tornado in 2016. I do also recall that Many CHURCHES & FAITH BASED organizations came in and helped many people! What does it hurt to have tried to help a church that should have been listed , if it wasn’t already, on the historical register. It seems it’s okay for those organizations to come in & help the people here… People who were begging for help when we were forgotten…places destroyed & very little options to move to & stay in the area. I understand about separation of church & state but I also understand KIndness to Humanity & in my opinion, It’s a terrible shame what happened to WESLEY CHapel, a sad loss for the community. I look at it as an act of kindness to a devastated non profit, historical church.

  14. watchdog on August 8th, 2017 5:34 pm

    Sharing information, even anonymously, could enlighten the council about things being done without their knowledge. It is not within the mayor’s authority to spend money, give raises, or do favors with town equipment and town employees, yet he has done it.

  15. just saying on August 8th, 2017 5:27 pm

    I need my driveway paved.

  16. Karen White on August 8th, 2017 2:30 pm

    Is anyone addressing the promises made to the church on behalf of the City of Century by the former Mayor? Maybe this mayor is simply trying to help a community that was lied to and abandoned by city & county officials? #asksomeonewhoknows

  17. BEAVIS on August 8th, 2017 2:02 pm

    Julie Julie Julie, what the mayor did was wrong no matter if he did good or bad. He is a servant of the people, not a dictator.

  18. chris on August 8th, 2017 1:57 pm

    @Julie. Its called separation of church and state.

  19. Ellen on August 8th, 2017 1:12 pm

    That was not a good move on the mayors part, however what was the cost to the town? That needs to be published for the citizens to see. What will be done about this in the furture? It seems rates continue to increase!!

  20. Julie Booth-Moran on August 8th, 2017 12:31 pm

    Wesley Chapel was one of the oldest buildings in Century. It was severely damaged by the tornado then finished off with fire. There has been many things done thru the years by other former mayors…and that all seemed to be okay. Atleast, Wesley Chapel is a church, non profit & again one of the oldest bldgs in town. What is wrong with helping out an organization like this. What happened to brother helping brother? Many of us help out other nonprofits such as ball teams in town with in-kind donations etc… I just don’t see the harm. And it’s not an Individuals property, which I think makes this different. As for anonymous sources, If someone isn’t willing to put their name on it, maybe they need to be quiet!

  21. Resident on August 8th, 2017 11:29 am

    When Hawkins and Gomez used the helicopter building to host a concert to benefit the Town of Century did they put the funds into something we can see as a line item on the budget this year?

  22. Dan on August 8th, 2017 10:33 am

    Well now that the mayor admitted doing this and we also know that it against the rules what is going to be done about it. How many other times has he done this and no anonymous letter was sent or received

  23. BEAVIS on August 8th, 2017 9:39 am

    I do what I want when I want, so sit down and shutup. Next….

  24. Concerned on August 8th, 2017 7:11 am

    No of course there wasn’t a fee charged. You just gotta know the right people to get free work done.

  25. Safebear on August 8th, 2017 6:58 am

    What kind of tank was it? If it was an old fuel tank or something, was it removed with appropriate EPA/DEP permits? Is the ground contaminated? Lot of questions here..

  26. Sam on August 8th, 2017 6:09 am

    Bad move on the mayors part. He’s opening up a can of worms. I have a drainage problem that might require some dirt being hauled in and a little dozier work. Can i call city hall?

  27. Alan on August 8th, 2017 5:42 am

    Yet the mayor wants the rest of us to pay more? Please tell me a fee was charged for this work.

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