Mobley takes over Prince George’s public works agency; pedestrian safety a top goal

Darrell B. Mobley hopes to make pedestrian safety a top priority as he takes the reins of Prince George’s County’s $20 million public works and transportation department.

“We want to focus on pedestrian safety and want to make sure that we are moving forward with several system preservation projects to make sure that county roads are in good repair,” he said Friday between meetings with staff members. “We want to take a holistic approach to transportation in the county and we don’t want it to be disjointed or segmented.”

Prince George’s has the highest number of pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents of any county in Maryland, according to a January study by state and local officials.

Mobley, 45, of Lutherville was Maryland’s district transportation engineer in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties or several years . In early 2012, he was named deputy secretary for the state Department of Transportation. In August, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) named him acting transportation secretary, and recently asked him to become the Maryland Transportation Authority’s executive secretary. He began serving Wednesday as Prince George’s acting director of public works. His nomination by County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) is subject to approval by the County Council. He is paid $175,000.

The public works department is being reorganized after the opening Monday of the county’s new Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement. Haitham A. Hijazi , previously head of public works, was nominated by Baker to head the new agency.

About 50 public works employees, including engineers and permitting experts, were transferred to the new $7.8 million permits department. That leaves public works with about 350 employees responsible for snow removal, road maintenance, the county bus system and traffic lights, among other items.

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