Friday, November 18, 2016

Mayor tells EPA Jackson can't meet consent decree deadlines due to City Council

Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber told the EPA that Jackson may not be able to meet deadlines that are part of the $400 million consent decree with the EPA because the City Council refused to approve a contract for the program manager. 

Mayor Yarber sent a letter on October 6 to EPA Region 4 Administrator Heather McTeer Toney that stated Jackson might not meet the Clean Water Act consent decree deadlines.  Mayor Yarber stated:

It is with grave concern that I reach out to you to advise you about the City of Jackson's progress under its Clean Water Act Consent Decree. Until recently, the City has made great strides in implementing the program under the Consent Decree designed to alleviate and, eventually, to eliminate the instances of noncomp1iance with the City' s NPDES permits and the Clean Water Act. Unfortunately, positions taken by the City Council are now interfering with  and jeopardizing the City's ability to continue in compliance with the Consent Decree. Pursuant to the City's obligation to advise the EPA of any event that may delay performance, as Mayor, I am advising you that the refusal of the City Council to address the hiring of a program manager for Consent Decree may result in the City being unable to meet certain deadlines under the Consent Decree.
The Mayor blamed the delay on the City Council's interference in the awarding of the contract.  The City Council's Rules Committee voted against sending the contract to the city council on June 6. Anna Wolfe reported in the Clarion-Ledger on June 8:

Los Angeles-based engineering firm AECOM, along with local partners, "The Jackson Five," wanted to show the city how to get an "A" in wastewater management. But on Monday, the Jackson City Council Rules Committee voted down the deal, which would have made AECOM Jackson's new consent decree program manager.

Currently, Jackson does not have anyone in that position, which has caused work to halt and could put the city at risk of failing to meet deadlines set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency. Now, Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber will have to bring the proposal before the council again in hopes that it will pass on a second try.

Yarber expressed dismay at the vote.

"I thought it would at least get out of committee to get to the full council.....

Councilmen Ashby Foote, Tyrone Hendrix and Melvin Priester each voted against sending the AECOM proposal to the full council, a move Yarber called negligent. The councilmen did not express strong objections to the proposal, but some of their questions surrounded the selected subcontractors, or "The Jackson Five."
 Mayor Yarber argued in the letter that the city had selected AECOM after it prevailed in the competitive bidding process.  The contract was placed on the May 31 agenda for approval.  Vice President DeKeither Stamps "assigned" the contract to the Rules Committee.  The Rules Committee rejected the contract on June 6.   Mayor Yarber stated he placed the contract back on the agenda for the June 14 and August 9 meetings of the City Council but then withdrew it each time.  He said that the city would have to start the entire process over again if the AECOM contract was rejected twice.    However, the Rule Committee did not approve the contract at its October 6 meeting.

The Jackson Mayor pulled no punches in stating how the contract rejection affected the ability of Jackson to comply with the EPA's mandates:

Presently, the flow monitoring is complete. However, the computerized digital map of the Sewer System, the capacity assessment of the WCTS, and the Hydraulic Model were components that were to  be within the scope of work of the Program Manager. At this point in time, without the services of a Program Manager none of this work will be completed in time to submit the Prioritization Report.  Even if the City Council decided today to authorize the hiring of the recommended proposer as program manager, which is unlikely, the City would be hard-pressed to meet the existing deadline.

The lack of a Program Manager can also be expected to affect the implementation of the recently approved Fats, Oils, and Grease and Private Sewer Lateral Enforcement CMOM Programs. The Department of Public Works retains a limited engineering staff and depends upon staff augmentation by a program manager to provide support for the implementation of CMOM Programs. The Department also needs the expertise of a program manager to analyze the Composite Correction Plan, options presented under that Plan, and other innovative solutions begin presented to the City to bring the Savanna Street WWTP into compliance with its NPDES Permit. The danger exists that without
additional technical assistance that could be provided by an experienced program management team the City may not be able to implement the improvements to the Savanna Street WWTP in compliance with the deadlines currently existing in the Consent Decree.

The failure of the City Council to act is hamstringing the efforts of the Department of Public Works to comply with and implement the Consent Decree. I have diligently supported the Department's efforts, but as a former mayor of a municipality in Mississippi, which, like the City of Jackson, operates under the Mayor-Council form of government, you must understand that I cannot take the action needed to hire a Program Manager or any other needed technical assistance without the cooperation and action of the City Council.

JJ reported the details of the contract in June.  Some highlights are:

 43% EBO participation

*The proposal refers to minority contractors as "The Jackson Five"

*Marques Hall gets 16%.  He is the owner of TMMHall Professional Services, LLC.  The company was created on November 12, 2015 - a week after election day.  Mr. Hall operates his company out of his home.  It is not known how many employees he has.   Mr. Hall was an engineer at MDOT.  However, he resigned after MDOT officials confronted him about his side job for the city of Jackson under this contract.

Mr. Hall will participate in the contract under AECOM's mentor-protege program.  The proposal states he will be responsible for construction and transition management.  The Clarion-Ledger reported his limited partner in this venture is Johnny Crisler.  Mr. Crisler is the brother of Jackson deputy Chief Administrative Officer Marshand Crisler.

*Kieu Tran of Q Solutions gets 1% for database development.

*Architect William McElroy gets 17% for "program support" and "planning".  His wife currently sits on the Planning and Zoning Board as the Ward 1 representative.

*Failed Old Capitol Green promoter Malcolm Shepard gets 4% for "right of way services".  Where have we seen this name before? Maybe these old JJ posts will jog your memory: #1, #2 (This is a good one to read), #3, #4 (Best one to read of the whole bunch), and #5.  However, he is an appraiser. 

*Andria Jones gets 5% for "stakeholder engagement/public outreach and workforce development and training".  She was indicted yesterday for Medicaid fraud.

*AECOM provides a list of similar projects it has completed on page seven.

*AECOM will donate $500,000 in cash to community programs and another $500,000 in "in-kind benefits" to these programs as well.


Anonymous said...

When this story broke I called Yarber corrupt on twitter and he liked my tweet, that should tell you something - he's corrupt!!! Drain the swamp (literally).

Anonymous said...

40% set asides, $1,000,000 kickback to community? No wonder Jackson is a toilet.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a whole bunch of crooks. Is there an honest person left in Jackson?

Anonymous said...

Let me decipher the mayor's letter. Twice I tried to get my cronies and financial supporters approved for the project manager's role. The city council refused to approve them, probably because the contract was loaded with fat and people who would do nothing to for the project except get paid by taxpayer funds. Since the council would not approve my people I refuse to submit any other group to do this work and I refuse to allow the local group who had been operating as project manager, Waggoner/AJA, to continue as project manager. Since the council will not give me my way I am going to take my ball and go home. Damm what is best for the citizens of Jackson!!

July 2017 can not come soon enough. Let's hope Jackson can last until then.

Minority Watch said...

Heather McTeer - Lawd I had forgotten about that woman's federal appointment (thanks to Obama and Bennie). She's the daughter of famous minority lawyer Victor McTeer of Greenville and she is an ex-mayor of that city. As mayor, she spent 90% of her time in D.C. with her hat in her hand.

Anonymous said...


A corrupt governmental body made up of thieves, also sullied by nepotism and croneyism.

The county government is a perfect example of a kleptocracy.

Anonymous said...

Council should appropriate 1/2 the Program Management Fee and hire an in-house Consent Decree Manager with clerical help.

Anonymous said...

The EPA will be obliterated in the first six months of the Trump administration.

Anonymous said...

At 9:54, not only is Jackson a toilet but the Pearl River is also a toilet. It's a damn shame anyone allowed the city years ago to build that stinking crap refinery next to one of our most treasured waterways! Now, with the left controlling Jackson it's full of excrement containing Popeyes, turnips, pigs feet and skrimp.

Guess what...all of that stinking damn water goes alll the way to our Gulf Coast and into OUR water that we get our seafood!!!!!! Makes you think doesn't it? Between that polluted water and the catfish farmers producing catfish on land polluted with every ag poison known to man we ought to be some damn sick people

Anonymous said...

Yes, the EPA is history. The Pearl River will turn into a toilet bowl.

Anonymous said...

The best thing for all parties is to let the other municipalities that send their sewage to Jackson to be processed will be for them to construct their own facilities and NOT by any river or tributary. I mean, how stupid can you get! The Feds and state allowed the city of Jackson years ago to build the waste water treatment plant on the banks of the Pearl. Now that was a huge mistake. Anyone with common sense can pull up a map and follow where this river flows. Yes, out to the Gulf of Mexico. You can only dilute crap and Irvine and everything else just so much before we become equivalent to a third world country. Now, the Mississippi River has issues also. Just about every major city along its route dumps some sort of pollution into it. We are poisoning ourselves. Jackson has no one who is capable of running the treatment plant. Those people left years ago, and the current admin won't allow anyone with knowledge to run ANYTHING in Jackson unless you are of color. Affirmative still doesn't work. They say they want to run things their way and it's their time. So this is how you operate a city. You run it into the ground like a plane crashing then move onto another city, occupy it until you get enough votes to put people of color in place there and do the same thing. The difference between the two groups are we appreciate what we have, what we have been given and want a place to raise our families. The other group sees it as a way to funnel money through corruption, ignorance and carelessness.

Anonymous said...

Damn some ignorant assessment here pretending to be both political experts AND engineers.

The EPA ain't going nowhere. It will have much more reasoned leadership but it will still exist to protect the environment. There still will be controls over dis charges from treatment plants. Jackson will have to fix it's sewer system just like the dozen of other systems in the state that are under consent decrees.

But the engineers here are even more stupid. Damn near every sewer treatment plant in the state discharges into a river, or on the coast straight into the gulf. What in the hell do you think a city does with the outflow of its sewage treatment? A couple might have land applications where they spray it over the land, but mo SD t go into the Pearl, the might Missip, the TennTom or some other river that eventually gets to those. And when possible they are built close to the river just as Jackson's is.

If west Rankin builds it's facility it will be on the other bank of the Pearl and discharge into the river also.

When you develop a treatment plant that doesn't have a discharge, get on here and let us know - I want to buy stock in that patent.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

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.

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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.

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