Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Report: Siemens contract assumed and gauranteed much, verified little.

Pete Perry, yes that Pete Perry dissected and analyzed the review of the Siemens' contract and the Jackson water/sewer system that was recently provided to the Jackson city council. He is a civil engineer by training and sits on the Sales Tax Commission as Governor Bryant's appointee. The review was one of the  main factors in the city council's decision to investigate the contract. Mr. Perry reviewed the report and attempted to make it easier to understand in his column posted below for JJ.  The actual report is posted at the end of the column. 

 Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc. (RFC) recently submitted its report of the first phase of their engagement by the City of Jackson to review several issues related to the City’s water/sewer system. The review included the Siemens contract.  RFC is a respected consulting group from North Carolina that specializes in utility, financial, and rate analysis.   A short, simple summary of the report is that current and future revenue created by the water/sewer operation is not adequate to cover the current costs, ongoing maintenance and bond debt retirement, even with the rate increases enacted by the city in late 2013. RFC makes many recommendations addressing this problem along with other recommendations that should be implemented

The majority of the fifty-eight page report discusses the current billing system and related issues. While the Siemens work includes the creation of a new Oracle-based billing system to work in concert with the automated water meters, many of the issues outlined by RFC will not be corrected by the implementation of the new Siemens system. Most of these issues have existed for years, if not decades, and have continued through multiple administrations.

The Intel technical attachment mentions another possible issue – the fact that in conducting Intel’s analysis the city was often only able to provide most but not all of the specific individual accounts, work orders, or other items requested as they tested sample accounts for review (i.e. requested 40 sample accounts labeled as ‘no present occupant’ and were provided information on 38; requested 37 sample accounts that were “exempted” from being cut-off and received the additional information on 33 of them.) While there might be a good explanation of why additional information could not be provided on all of the account samples, there was no further discussion in the report. To an outside reader this leaves the impression that the city either didn’t have any information on these accounts or for some reason chose not to provide it to the consultants.


Strategic Planning: This is probably the least interesting aspect of the report to a reader outside of the Public Works Department and City leadership. The principal result of this effort was to develop a matrix of issues that need addressing within the department, prioritizing them and identifying steps to be taken over time to improve their operation.

Revenue Sufficiency: This appears to be one of the main reasons for enlisting the aid of a consulting group such as RFC that specializes in utility rate structures.  The City did not meet its FY2013 rate covenant obligations associated with the $91 million Siemens revenue bonds and also to address the deficiencies noted by Moody’s in its November 2014 downgrade of the City’s bond rating.

The 2013 revenue bond issue was issued to pay the costs associated with
(1) the implementation of advanced metering infrastructure ($51.2 million) including not just the installation of new remote read meters but also the needed equipment to collect the data and develop a new customer billing system;
(2) improvements to the City’s two water treatment plants ($11 million); and
(3) replacement of several major sewer collection lines and other sewer infrastructure($15.8 million) - all of which are included as part of the Siemens contract. (The remaining $13 million of the contract is for costs related to these three components.)

When the City entertained the proposal from Siemens, they were “assured” that the debt service would be covered through operational savings and additional revenue stipulated in the contract – approximately $7.8 million per year once the projects were finished – combined with a moderate rate increase. Despite this “performance guarantee”, the City was unable to meet the bond obligation in 2013.

 RFC made several assumptions – many different from the assumptions used by Siemens in their project proposal – to determine the system’s annual cash needs for the next five years, including debt service, O&M expenses, and cash funded capital projects. These include a 10% escalation of wage costs for 2016 due to the minimum wage increases recently enacted by the City; 3% of most budget line items for anticipated cost increases; and other additional O&M costs needed to eliminate water loss, reduce the number and volume of leaks and breaks, and to address reliability issues. For reasons outlined in the report, they did not assume any operational savings from the Siemens performance contract.

In projecting the revenues from the water/sewer customers, RFC found a large discrepancy between the amounts billed and the amounts received – approximately 12% uncollected revenue resulting from account adjustments and delinquent accounts. RFC assumed that the total amount of uncollected revenue should decrease in future years resulting from the new meters and from the implementation of the new billing system along with the recommendations made to internal billing office procedures. RFC’s projection is that the uncollected amount will be 5% by 2020 – but notes that the industry average is 1%.

Unlike Siemens, RFC did not include any increase in billable flow resulting from the new Siemens meter accuracy nor did they assume an increase in the number of customers or in the per capita usage. They noted that the industry trend is a declining per capita consumption which RFC’s analysis assumed would offset any increase from better meter accuracy.

In reviewing the debt service coverage RFC used a two prong test that included 100% all debt (all bond service including reserve and other debts payable out of general revenue) rather than the assumption used by Siemens which was 120% of the Siemens bonds

The system will be in a detrimental financial position if current water/sewer rates remain unchanged. ‘Under these rates and the current costs, the system is barely able to meet the debt service requirements in 2015 and future coverage is compromised.” RFC suggests that the city needs to implement additional rate adjustments (note: this same observation was made by DPW director Powell early in her tenure, prior to the employment of RFC) and that the level of the adjustments will depend on whether the City implements the recommendations resulting from the findings of the RFC project team including improving collection efforts, addressing the number of adjustments given to customers, enforcing the cut-off policy among other recommendations.

RFC compares the results of its review to the consulting engineer report that was a part of the official statement for the Siemens bonds. The engineer’s report indicated that once the projects were complete and operational the City would achieve operational savings and revenue enhancements of $7.8 million per year which would cover the new bond debt service. The engineer’s report demonstrated the City’s ability to meet the 2013 bonds; however due to several poor assumptions included in the report (Siemens only installing 30% of new meters by October 2014 where report assumed 100% by end of 2014; debt coverage calculation projection not adequate; estimated operational cost escalation too small; and the increased rates not resulting in increased revenue) not being accomplished, the City did not meet its 2013 debt service coverage.

Siemens Performance Guarantee and Contract: The stated purpose of the RFC review of the Siemens contract was to develop recommendations of actions the City could take to maximize the value of the contract. According to the contract, the anticipated benefit of the automatic metering upgrade would include improved revenue resulting from more accurate water meter data, along with savings resulting from deferred maintenance and reduced staff requirements.

Siemens “guaranteed” that the City will receive savings in four areas: additional revenue from greater accuracy of the small meters installed and additional revenue from the accuracy of the large meters (see later discussion as to why small and large meters are differentiated); operational savings from meter reading and billing; and the ability to defer maintenance at the water treatment plant and the sewer collection system. According to the contract, Siemens guaranteed a total savings of $123 million over the life of the bonds.

Siemens is required to file an annual report that itemizes the savings realized during each prior year and compare those savings to the guaranteed savings. BUT – only one category of savings is subject to annual verification in that the savings. Any savings from the large meter installations, the operational benefits and the deferred maintenance are stipulated to have occurred REGARDLESS of whether any actual savings can be demonstrated to have occurred.

Only the savings relative to the small meters is actually guaranteed – which over the term of the contract is approximately $43 million. The other $80 million guaranteed savings are - for contract purposes - assumed to occur and therefore are not subject to the performance guarantee from Siemens. The savings attributable to the one component that is to be measured – the small meter consumption – is determined by comparing the predicted usage from continued use of the existing meters and the usage by using the new meters – a function that is based on the measured accuracy of the new meters.

While the City will realize savings from all areas, it is important that it takes action to maximize said savings. The new meters should be installed as quickly as possible – all of the anticipated savings are contingent upon the entire system being equipped with remote read meters and until they are all installed the City will need to maintain staff necessary to manually read and locate meters and to discontinue and restore service. The City  must also make the staff reductions that are anticipated by the Siemens contract.

Siemens is replacing a number of large meters with the new remote read meters and the anticipated savings attributed to these meters is to come from additional revenue that will result from greater meter accuracy just as with the small meters. But, unlike the small meters this component is not based on testing the actual accuracy of the new meters – instead it is assumed to occur regardless of whether or not more revenue is generated. It is not clear why the contract does not treat large meters in a similar manner as the small meters and provide a guarantee of additional revenue based on the large meter accuracy.

As of October 2014 Siemens had invoiced the City a total of $74 million – approximately 82% of the contract value and included charges for approximately 89% of the new meters. As of that date:

• the water treatment plant projects were 76% complete
• the sewer collection projects were 89% complete
• approximately 40% of the new small meters had been installed

Billing System Data Review: This facet of RFC’s task exposed interesting - and disturbing - concerns about the current processes and the billing system itself. It details multiple problems found within the utility’s accounting, billing and collection offices and lack of controls therein - procedures that have evidently been carried forth for decades or have developed within the legacy accounting systems.

Collection rates fell significantly over the past two years and current revenues are significantly below what was projected. The RFC team attempted to identify possible reasons for this drop, particularly in light of the 2013 rate increases. Acknowledging that the Siemens performance contract included the development and implementation of a new billing system, RFC attempted to identify changes that need to be made so that problems in the current system will not be transferred into the new programs.

Some of the problems identified in the report as related to customer accounts, billing, collection, data collection and entry, and accountability include:

• Payment increases have not been tracking with expectations, evident especially with cashier payments. As a result outstanding balances are on the rise and collection rate is decreasing
• Increased adjustment activity and decreased collections have resulted in reduced revenue stream

• Approximately 3% of water charges to accounts were not receiving bills
• Many instances of invalid entries in data fields, including whether inside or outside the city, conflicting information on an account, multiple units noted as single family or with incorrect number of units denoted (and vice versa), values assigned that are not associated with the data field, and other invalid combinations – all that cause concern about data maintenance and data quality
• Lack of adequate supervisory review for account adjustments and need for adjustments to be made with more care in calculation
• New meters not properly recording usage – some that were causing no consumption to be billed; others that were causing dramatic increases from historical usage
• New meters that are ‘stuck’ and not reporting any consumption, despite this problem supposedly having been addressed by better quality control of the installation
• Lack of quality assurance standards deployed during meter reading process even though the hand held equipment has some built-in ability to assist if it were used
Accounts can be set to a non-bill status even though service is available and water is still being used resulting in there being no charge for water or sewer
• Incomplete or inaccurate customer information, which could lead to unenforceable collection actions
• Accounts where customer is noted as “No Present Occupant” and no bill being sent but with consumption registering regularly; recognized that this could in some instances reflect issues related to a change in customer status but resulting in accounts where the vacating customer didn’t settle their final bill
• Accounts where no bill should be generated because no consumption is allowed but where there actually was consumption occurring; lack of appropriate follow-up and action on these accounts
• Inadequate service order and work order process; lack of timely action on work orders including those to pull a meter or tie-in; lack of monitoring of work order actions, completions and recording
• Multiple examples of how the system allows for opportunities for service usage without a bill
• Inadequate control or process over accounts designated as being “exempt”; data field being improperly used in legacy system and lack of control over who or when such designation is made on an account
• Potential fraudulent activity possibilities, including improper adjustments, intentional service orders to stop billing when not required, accounts being placed on non-bill status, falsified meter reads, field tampering / meter bypassing, and disconnect bribes.
• Lack of adequate accounting oversight – data only indicates what payments were made and registered, but no correlation with how much money was deposited to the bank. This could allow for accounts to be denoted as having been paid when in fact they had not, or for payments to be made and credited to the account but not deposited. Current operations do not provide for an auditing process over payments.

RFC’s data study found that while the rates for customers outside the City (which are customers who only receive sewer services and whose rates must be approved by the Mississippi Public Service Commission unlike those of customers within the City) were being charged the increased rates resulting from the 2011 and the 2013 rate increases. It appears that the City may not have gotten approval from the PSC for one or both of those rate increases. These customers may have been overcharged by the City for one to possibly three years and the City will probably have to be refunding these increased charges to these customers.

RFC also identified a significant misapplication of current billing “policy” and identified it as being one of the most critical finding in this part of the project. Customers are billed bimonthly for water, sewer and garbage collection. The sewer charges are established by City ordinance with minimum monthly fees (based on meter size and water usage) – but the city is charging the monthly rate in the bimonthly bill. This means that all users below the minimum threshold are charged only half the proper charge.

Recommendations of RFC team: The report makes recommendations as to each of the sections, many of which obviously would apply to the problems found in the billing operation. These include implementing some standard operating procedures and oversight procedures before going online with the new billing system. Without the implementation of these procedures the new system will inherit many of these problems existing in the legacy system. The recommendations include the establishment of common control procedures and oversight to be used in:

• Calculating and applying adjustments - in addition to a thorough edit review and approval process, it should include the establishment of a threshold for adjustments above which additional approval is necessary
• Logging and verifying work orders, including detail on their issuance and completion, and insure that all recording of work orders is done timely
• Appropriate use of User ID’s for computer data entries and security controls on all ID’s
• Collection procedures for aged account receivables

The City should insure that the new billing system is established and tested so that failures in the current system (miscoding of accounts, lack of controls of data entry fields, etc.) will not be carried into the new system and that proper controls are within the new system so that they cannot be included within it.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Beyond incompetence!

Anonymous said...

Wait until the UN says that water service is a human right and you don't have to pay your bill.
Didn't they try that in Detroit?
Jackson- the little Detroit on the Pearl.

Anonymous said...

I recently had a reason to look at my new meters. I was shocked.
The wires were way too long and either because the meters had been set too deep or because the lids hadn't been replaced properly, or a combination of the two, both meters and the wires were under water from the recent long days of rain.

I would suspect such a situation will not bode well for long term meter function if they are still functioning.

Over the years, the inconsistency in water bills ( and frankly utility bills) has been puzzling.

How could my bills remain the same when the number of people in the house is reduced by half or when all those in the house are gone for a long period of time? How is it my housekeeper with a tiny house has bills 4x that of a 4500 square foot house with far more things to use electricity, gas and water? How could a neighbor with the same size house and more children ,and a pool use less water when I have no leaks?

Is it coincidental that in 35 years I've only seen meter readers of any sort 6 times when I've been a homemaker whose always had a dog that barks to alert me? How did they always manage to come when I was away from home? This was not the case when I lived elsewhere. I got to know my meter readers by name.

I'm also not surprised by this report.

Government contracting in Mississippi, whether it's at the local or state level and regardless of the entity or party in power or the race of the politicians is structured in such a way as to invite corruption.

It's an easy fix. You just have to copy the organizational charts, rules and regulations of systems that are efficient and avoid opportunities for corruption. You have to adopt laws and regulations that work.

The first step is to be willing to compare what we are doing with what those who are successful are doing differently.

We need an overhaul from top to bottom and this fiasco is simply one of many that KF has brought to our attention. And, we have to elect people who are willing to work to solve problems not create more!

Anonymous said...

First step is do not elect crooks.

Anonymous said...

First, I find no Pete Perry listed as having an engineering license in MS.

Second, I am holding in my hand a Jackson water/sewer/garbage bill in the amount of $131,560.53, for a two-month billing period at an unoccupied house back in 2003. This had nothing to do with Siemens, but I suspect Jackson hasn't changed much.

Anonymous said...

Reading the post and comment from 9:23 makes me grateful to live in the Bear Creek Water District.

Anonymous said...

One can be a graduate engineer without practicing or registering as a licensed engineer. Geeze, many graduate with education degrees and don't teach. What is with you? And what are you talking about a 12 year old bill for an un-occupied house. Did you own a house that maybe had a leak and is this accumulated interest? Did a renter leave without paying a bill? Before you just wholesale blame the City, please give a clearer picture. Somehow the bill got to you so your name must have been somewhere involved or did they just pick you out of the phone book?

Anonymous said...

@9:23. Interesting. If this disparity has been going on so long, what measures have you taken to make it more equitable? Have you contacted the city to check your "underwater" meter? Is it possible your housekeeper has someone stealing water from him/her? Is it possible there is a steady leak or running toilet? Are these possibly meter re-connecting charges? Some rental houses used to only have one meter for two or three houses on the same property. Could there be more than one house on the meter. You would be doing the city a great favor if you could use your skills to help reconcile these discrepancies.

Anonymous said...

Jackson has faired very poorly under three administrations, true. I do not believe we have a crook in office now. I see someone who is trying very hard to overcome the incompetence of the past. Many citizens of Jackson are basically stealing city services by not paying their fair share. You are as guilty as the ones you are pointing your finger toward if you know you are receiving a service you are not paying for. To paraphrase the Bible, if you cannot be fair in your small dealings, forget about credit in your large ones.

Anonymous said...

11.17 it is illegal to say you are an engineer or give engineering opinions if you are unlicensed. Doesn't matter what you took in college.

Anonymous said...

10:12 am Hate to break the news to you but I lived in Madison for a decade and my comments applied to Bear Creek as well.

I did have more laundry ruined with Bear Creek and more notices not to drink the water. And, a few notices where I didn't want to drink the water.

Of course, the building codes were so bad and the inspections even worse and we had to buy culverts from supervisors. If I hadn't had a VA loan, my house wouldn't have even been grounded so the problems might not ALL have been Bear Creeks fault.

Oh, I left out the Madison garbage dump over aquifers, but you've probably fixed all that by now. Right?

Water Me This said...

Who said anything about stealing services? And, please, Mr. Biden, what the hell is 'fair share'?

To quote the Bible, "Get the behind me Satan".

Anonymous said...

10:04 -- "a civil engineer by training" does not equate to your reasoning of being a 'registered engineer'. And, by my reading of this post, it was KF's comment on the background that even raised the issue; nothing in the summary of the report. Besides, it looks like as much a 'financial analysis' as an 'engineering analysis'. But I guess some folks like you just like to find things to bitch about. Must be a miserable life.

And thanks, KF, for the effort. Looked at this report and watched the recent news coverage of out City Council discussion and wanted to know more but didn't want to try to digest the whole document. Appreciate having a summary.

Anonymous said...

11:25 am

I did not just fall off a turnip truck. I'm not in the habit of making assumptions, especially negative assumptions, however popular that is these days.

First of all, my housekeeper can hardly be stealing when she shows me her exorbitant water bills and electrical bills! And, she keeps her bills for years at a time. I reviewed ALL of them.

I sent my plumber and electrician to my housekeeper's house at my expense! There were no leaks or explanations for her bills.

She owns her house. It's properly insulated. Her windows are good. She and her hard working husband are African American but are above average intelligence, active in their church and have managed to put 4 children through college. Considering their humble beginnings, they are quite exceptional!

Your negative assumptions are showing!

And, over the years, I've indeed sought explanations and complained and not only to the utility or water/sewer services but to the Utility Commission and the cities in question.

Though no one admitted anything or explained after I acted as an advocate, my housekeeper's bills miraculously improved only to , after a few years become suspect again. So, we jump through hoops yet again!

My " skills" include being instrumental getting some Madison and Hinds County political " crooks" defeated. And, I've succeeded more than once in getting some improvements in the short term.

But, even with post graduate degrees ( and that's plural) from respected universities ,having more than a little disposal income to spread around, the ability to manage my time well, and an understanding of what good government looks like , no sooner do we replace crooks and imbeciles than others are elected or hired to take their place!

I'm getting old now so why don't you give it a shot? Or do you work for government or a utility or are you with water/sewer ? Your excuses are more than a little familiar!

While I'm sure there are people who do " steal" and are dishonorable, I know with certainty that more than a few of them are middle to upper class whites! You should know that as well. Or don't you read all of KF's postings?

Kingfish said...

So go file a complaint. Need help?

Anonymous said...

11:17 Hogwash.

Anonymous said...

"having more than a little disposal income to spread around,"

too bad with all your degrees (plural) you never learned the difference between "disposal" and "disposable".

Anonymous said...

TeeHee.... It is great that you "went to bat" and succeeded. Did not mean to be judgmental. Just like it when folks become part of the solution instead of part of the problem. I believe anyone in Jackson who knows those trying to "beat the system" and not paying their consumed amount ("fair share") should report same. The City needs every penny. To me, this includes a whole bunch of money or work from Siemens.

Anonymous said...

3:31pm I have never needed to be able to type or even edit myself.

But, I did learn that when you can't attack the message, attacking the messenger is an act of desperation.

I challenge you to do better without rereading what you type.

5:30 pm I would turn anyone in in a heartbeat! They are robbing from me as my rates go up because of them.

I just hate it when some folks don't get that pots and kettles can both be black!

Crare Beek said...

Regarding the Bear Creek comments ~ I've lived in their service area for 25 years and have never heard of a boil water notice and your suggestion of ruined clothes is bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Let's get real. Of course the Siemens contract is a shitty deal; the council knew this, but they voted for it because they got bribed. That's why the FBI is investigating. It's not like it's some big mystery what happened, it's blatantly obvious.

Anonymous said...

To 1:08 PM

You state of your housekeeper:

She owns her house. It's properly insulated. Her windows are good. She and her hard working husband are African American but are above average intelligence, active in their church and have managed to put 4 children through college. Considering their humble beginnings, they are quite exceptional!


So your black maid is extra special smart...more so than your black Gardner or Mexican car washer? Holy cow did you actually write that sober lady?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the engineering license, check the law and engineering board regs. An unlicensed person cannot legally claim to be an engineer, but can claim to be a "graduate engineer," or engineering intern. You cannot legally "be a civil engineer by training." You can legally claim to be a graduate engineer or have an engineering degree. To be fair, Mr. Perry himself was not reported to have claimed anything here. But the original point was should we pay attention to the findings of an unlicensed person?

Regarding the $131k bill, if you will do the math (engineering), you will find that the amount of water necessary to produce such a bill (99,965,438 cu. ft., or about 747,793,358 gal.) could not possibly be pumped through a residential water line (~3/4" diameter), so it's irrelevant whether there were leaks or thefts or things left on. The point was the incompetence of the Jackson PW department.

Regarding the tone, y'all need to act like decent human beings instead of a certain type of livestock, and disagree in a civil manner.

Anonymous said...

9:23 pm I didn't mention those things the first time. Perhaps you didn't catch the assumptions made by 11:25 am. He needed to be disabused of those assumptions.

It so happens my gardener is college educated. And, the mobile car wash owner who comes is well mannered and articulate, and a decorated veteran. Neither are Mexican and one is African American. Both are good businessmen and doing quite well financially.

My point, though you've missed it, is that it's a mistake to stereotype or make negative assumptions based on what people do to make a living unless engaged in criminal activity. If you will get out of your comfort zone and need for conformity every now and again , you might realize they are people of good character and value who aren't WASPs. And, most of them will know things you don't know! You might learn something!

Anonymous said...

Good LORD it is the rabid JJ lecturer AGAIN.

Pete Perry said...

To 10:04/11:44. I appreciate your overt concern over a non-issue related to this post by Kingfish, but next time I would suggest that you read the entire attachment before dragging your red herrings across the comments.

Nowhere in the summary that I prepared did I make any mention of my background, training, education or licensing. Also, nowhere in it did I suggest that the summary contained any personal analysis - either of an engineering or an analytical sort.

At Kingfish's request, I took the report prepared by Raftelis and summarized "their" findings, most of which had absolutely nothing related to engineering (although part of the team that prepared the report was SOL Engineering of Jackson.)

As noted in the summary (and the report) it is primarily a look at the rate structure of the water/sewer department, the billing procedures of the water/sewer department and of the contract with Siemens. There is little, if any, engineering aspects to the report.

Your comment that "it is illegal to say you are an engineer or give engineering opinions if you are unlicensed. Doesn't matter what you took in college." has no application because I have not 'said' that I was an engineer, nor have I 'given any engineering opinions' herein. If you can find one statement to the contrary, please do so. Otherwise, take your toys and go home with this argument.

The fact that Kingfish, in his opening comments, referred to my education in no way indicates that I am attempting to provide any engineering opinions. But just as I don't have to be licensed as a CPA to understand a financial statement, or be a licensed attorney to understand many legal documents, I don't have to be a licensed engineer to understand a basic study of a water/sewer operation.

And, BTW, all my professional registrations, and all other legal documents are not done under my nickname that you evidently 'researched'. I file everything under my legal name. -- which, evidently unlike yours, is not anonymous.

Anonymous said...

This hurts to say but Pete is right.

Anonymous said...

You go get 'em Pete! I would love to listen to an encounter between the nit-picking blogger and a real live driver of the trains around here.

Anonymous said...

Don't understand why you feel compelled Pete to respond to anonymous comments. Please do not respond to mine.

Anonymous said...

Just curious about something. Don't out of state companies or consulting firms have to form a partnership with a local firm licensed in the state in which the work will be performed?

If the above is true, which local firm of consulting engineers was involved in the production of the report with so many erroneous 'assumptions'?

Anonymous said...

3-18-15 @8:35 a.m. has a valid point. Why is healthcare considered a right and water not? Dangit! I demand free water!

Anonymous said...

I would love to know how many dinners and gifts Siemens provided the politicians to close this deal. They have a history of doing this with the Mississippi Department of Corrections and Public Schools.

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In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS