Monday, July 10, 2017

Are some more equal than others?

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has expressed his desire to appoint Dr. Safiya Omari as his Chief of Staff. She held the same position in his father's administration.  However, Dr.  Omari is a Ridgeland resident and the Jackson Municipal Code has something to say about such things. 


Madison County land records show that she purchased a home in 2006 in Ridgeland.  There is a deed of trust on the home that has not been cancelled.  Dr. Omari is not registered to vote in Hinds County but is registered to vote in Madison County.

Jackson Municipal Code Article III Section 2-166 states:


Sec. 2-166. - Residency requirements.

(a)Subject to the provisions of subsections (c) and (h) hereof, each and all new and prospective employees of the city shall maintain their domicile and principal place of residence within the City of Jackson.

(b)All persons entering upon employment with the city after the effective date of this section who do not maintain their domicile and principal place of residence within the City of Jackson shall comply with the domicile and residency requirement before the expiration of the first six months from the time of their employment by the city, subject to those persons who are granted a waiver under subsection (d) who must establish residency within 12 months from the time of their employment by the city.

(c)The provisions of subsection (a) and subsection (b) above shall not apply to current employees who on the effective date of this section do not maintain domiciles and principal places of residence within the City of Jackson. Any current employee living outside of the City of Jackson who changes his domicile and principal place of residence on or after the effective date of this section shall be subject to the residency requirement of this section. If on or after the effective date of this section, any current employee who ceases to be an employee of the city for any reason whatsoever, such a person will be subject to the residency requirement of this ordinance upon their subsequent employment with the city.

(d)The director of personnel management may grant an individual waiver to a prospective employee residing outside of the City of Jackson after a finding in writing that a sufficient number of qualified residents cannot be recruited for those full- or part-time position(s) requiring specialized expertise or extraordinary qualifications, certifications or training. If a waiver is granted, said employee shall be required to establish residency within the City of Jackson within 12 months of employment in accordance with the provisions of section 2-166.

(e)Each and all employees of the city shall certify in writing to the director of personnel management their domicile and principal place of residence within 30 days of the passage of this section. Thereafter, each and all employees of the city shall annually re-certify in writing to the director of personnel management their domicile and principal place of residence, and it shall be the duty of the director of personnel management to enforce this section and to annually report any violation of this section to the mayor and members of the council for the city.

(f)The failure of any employee to comply with the residency and domicile requirements set forth in subsections (a) and (b) will result in that employee's termination from their employment with the City of Jackson. Any employee who after having failed to comply with the requirement to certify their domicile or principal place of residence within 30 days of the passage of this section or annually and who fails to provide said certification within seven days of being notified of noncompliance with said certification shall be disciplined for such noncompliance. The submission of false certification information shall constitute noncompliance with this section and shall subject the employee to discipline.
The code used to allow city employees to live within a forty mile radius of Jackson but Mayor Chokwe Lumumba and the Jackson City Council approved the current ordinance in 2014.


Kingfish note:  This appointment will be an early test of Mayor Lumumba and his adherence to the principle of equality.  Should the law apply the same to all city employees or will his administration imitate Animal Farm and make some employees more equal than others?

Councilman DeKeither Stamps led the charge in passing the new law.  He gave a dose of Stampsonomics to the Jackson Free Press in 2013:

Ward 4 Councilman De'Keither Stamps is proposing a change to Chapter 2, Article III, Section 2-166 of the Jackson Code of Ordinances, which governs residency requirements for city employees.

Ward 4 Councilman De'Keither Stamps is proposing a change to Chapter 2, Article III, Section 2-166 of the Jackson Code of Ordinances, which governs residency requirements for city employees.

Specifically, Stamps wants to change the requirement on the books from "within 40 miles of the city," an area that includes suburbs like Madison, Flowood, Ridgeland and Clinton, to say "within city limits," which would exclude those communities.

The ordinance would not affect current employees, just new hires. If the city wants to hire someone who doesn't currently live in the city, that employee would be required to relocate inside city limits within six months of his or her hiring.

"Those 635 employees make an average of $32,000 a year," Stamps said in an interview with JFP on Wednesday, Dec. 18. "I have been pounding my head in the wall trying to figure out how to give city employees raises, and that extra money from taxes might be enough to allow that to happen."

The city provided data to show that it currently employs 635 workers who do not live within the city limits. Their salaries total more than $20 million a year.

After the change, Stamps said he expects the additional revenue from those employees, based on what their investment in real estate and contributions to the tax base are, to be significant..... Article.

Stampsonomics hasn't exactly worked out too well but don't expect our beloved city councilman to figure that out for himself.  Mr. Stamps constantly complains that Public Works is severely undermanned.  The police department is at its lowest staffing level in ten years.  Meanwhile, sales tax collections haven't exactly skyrocketed.  What Mr. Stamps and his merry band of councilmen did was put the city into a HR straight jacket.

The average person making $32,000 a year as Mr. Stamps claims takes a hit from the higher taxes.  Then there is the matter of public schools.  There is no way in hell a family is going to move their children from A or B school districts such as Clinton, Madison County, Pearl, or Rankin County to failing public schools in Jackson.  Don't tell that to Mr. Stamps and his cohorts.  Jackson has a long history of following a Jackson-only policies regardless of how badly they hurt Jackson. 

The law also prevents Jackson from raiding the surrounding local governments for experienced employees when it needs them the most. 

What Mayor Lumumba should do is use this opportunity to abolish the law.  The law should either apply to everyone in his administration or to no one at all.  Those who lead should lead by example.  Dr. Omari should be his Chief of Staff while she lives where she chooses as should every other city employee.  However, if the law is not changed, then the Mayor should not appoint  Dr. Omari to his administration. 

It is time Jackson got rid of the handcuffs and change the law.



31 comments:

Anonymous said...

It really is self-defeating to have city workers that are not residents of that city. Because the taxpayers of that city are paying their wages and in return, that money is going to benefit the city of Ridgeland and Madison County. There's no return on investment for the city of Jackson and Hinds County.

Jackson is in a unique situation when you compare it to other metropolitan areas in the country. To our north you have Memphis in Shelby County, but Germantown, Bartlett and Cordova still falls within that area and resources are still shared.

Jackson and Hinds are competing against Ridgeland and Madison in Madison County in the north and Brandon, Richland, Pearl in Rankin.

That's why all these places in the metro need to get on one accord so it wouldn't be an issue for a resident in Ridgeland to work over in Jackson.

Anonymous said...

This is pretty much black and white, Dr. Omari does not meet the residency requirement.

If the Mayor allows a variance to the Municipal Code, he should be prepared to answer to his employees as to why there are two sets of rules. These types of situations are those which tend to undermine morale and sow indifference, and it is always the person who seeks services from the city who suffers by having to deal with lazy employees with poor attitudes.

My guess is that Dr. Omari will wind up renting a domicile inside the city limits from one of the city council members and obtaining a PO Box, while actually living in Ridgeland - the real proof will be where the good Dr. pays taxes, registers her car and registers to vote. If she does move, someone needs to follow up and verify that she is in compliance.

Anonymous said...

Omari will he brought on and nothing will be said. If you don't buy into the mayor's
New vision then you are a racist.

As far as a residency requirement, it is a bad policy for Jackson. It is tough enough to get QUALIFIED applicants to apply for any job. When you take the applicant pool and only pool from the list of the most uneducated and less worthy applicants then you are only hurting yourself.

So my advice to Jackson is to keep on hiring only people who live IN Jackson and see how that works for ya!

Free the Land!

Anonymous said...

She seems to be a liar or ashamed to let 'the people' know she lives in the safe confines of Ridgeland. Facebook says she lives in Jackson.
https://www.facebook.com/safiyao1?lst=564872710%3A701909253%3A1499699719

Live wherever you want. But, be honest and ready to explain why.

Anonymous said...

9:27, what country do you live in?

Anonymous said...

That law should be changed. The only people that should have to adhere to a residency requirement are politicians that run for office. The staff thing needs to go. These laws, and there are many more, are simply no longer practical. For such forward progressive thinkers, they ought to be able to realize that you can't expect people to move to JXN for X amount of years especially after the "financial crisis".

If it's the tax money they need so bad, then they can look at a tax for people on the public dole who live outside Jackson/Hinds, but even that seems regressive at this point. It should at least be considered as a plausible work around.

Anonymous said...

No surprise that Jackson enacts a law that actually hurts more than it helps them. Jackson doesn't offer enough in terms of schools and maintained infrastructure to make it worth an outsiders while to move there, so the most talented pool of potential workers will remain out of bounds.

Prediction: She will be appointed. Six months will pass and no one in his government will challenge him on it. After all, this law was really intended to keep white Rankinites and Madisonites from benefiting from City of Jackson salaries while living in their own separate communities.

Free the land...by any means necessary!!!

Anonymous said...

"(a)Subject to the provisions of subsections (c) and (h) hereof . . . "

Care to include subsection (h) to the post?

Anonymous said...

Is this title a Phd, an M.D. or what? There are a number of Jackson policemen who live in Madison County and take the blue and white home at the end of every shift. Maybe the policy doesn't cover them.

Anonymous said...

"That's why all these places in the metro need to get on one accord so it wouldn't be an issue for a resident in Ridgeland to work over in Jackson."

What does it mean 'to get on one accord'? Never mind...I'l ask Patty Peck.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:29am

I guess it's tough to comprehend when your primary language is troglodyte

ac·cord
/əˈkôrd/

verb

1. give or grant someone (power, status, or recognition): "the powers accorded to the head of state"

synonyms: give, grant, present, award, vouchsafe, ... more antonyms:
withhold

2. (of a concept or fact) be harmonious or consistent with.

synonyms: correspond to, agree with, match up with, concur with, be consistent with, harmonize with, be in harmony with, be compatible with, chime in with, be in tune with, correlate with, dovetail with, conform to, suit, fit, parallel, match, square with, jibe with

Anonymous said...

@ 10:25am

The same one as your mammy

Anonymous said...

Stamps is extremely bullheaded in general. You cannot explain ANYTHING to him! You have to make him think that he thought of it in the first place. That being said....he never has lost an election still and his voters like him.

The ordinance is VERY loosely enforced in the city. You are not expected to be a resident when you are first hired, and no one checks to see if you updated your file even after you have been in your role for quite some time. So, I don't expect this to carry much weight in his hiring process.

Also, it takes very little to establish residency...she could "move in" with a friend for paperwork purposes.

Anonymous said...

She could do like the newly elected mayor of Pelahatchie did and just "stay" there at her momma's house. The new mayor has verbally said she plans to "clean house"(her words) because her mother was terminated for embezzlement.

Anonymous said...

9:27, I suppose if the person is capably performing a needed task, then the city would in fact be receiving some sort of return on their investment. Would it be better to hire a competent person who lives outside the city limits or 5 incompetent people within the city who will recycle their salary within Jackson?

Anonymous said...

How does one embezzle from a local government?

Da Fat Man said...

If you get a check from the City of Jackson, you should live in the City of Jackson. If you get a check from Madison, you should live in Madison.

Anonymous said...

Maybe she has one of those Stokes exemption cards. The one which allows Kennuf to forego the city ordinance regarding signs. Also remember, if you represent the "ghetto" which Jackson is, you are never required to actually live there.
(See "represent" as opposed to "work in")

Assume the Akuno said...

The first of many 'do as I say, not as I do' actions we'll see out of Mayor Second Coming.

Anonymous said...

I bet half the City of Madison employees cant afford to live in Her city!

Anonymous said...

2:00 p.m., really? Are you seriously suggesting that you do not know how a government employee might engage in behavior that constitutes embezzlement? On this very blog there is no telling how many examples of embezzlement by government employees have been publicized. A half dozen, maybe? Just over the last 5 years?

Now, whether 1:26 has accurately described the reason for the termination of the new mayor's Mom is subject to debate. I suspect that there was no official reason given for Mom's termination, at least not publicly. I doubt "embezzlement" is accurate, as that would have likely resulted in a prosecution in Rankin County.

Anonymous said...

I have always thought this was a dumb idea. To only hire people who live in your city. On the other hand there are people who will say - 'I buy Nissan because they are local. I don't care that they have crappy reviews.' Or, 'I won't buy from company XYZ because of their political views', etc. I'm just not one of those people. For instance I buy from Amazon because of wide selection, good prices, and good service. But I HATE their politics.
My guess is that most people look for quality, price, and service and anything else matters almost none. If that is true, then how does a city council decide that most citizens would rather pay more for workers who aren't as good? Because that is exactly what you get when you disqualify everyone who lives outside of Jackson.

Anonymous said...

Hire the best person for the job. Place of residence is irrelevant to whether a person is the best candidate for a job

Anonymous said...

6:38, it's time to feed your unicorn.

Anonymous said...

"Also, it takes very little to establish residency...she could "move in" with a friend for paperwork purposes. "

And give up a homestead exemption on a valuable home in Ridgeland? Hardly seems likely.

And 6:38 is both correct and succinct.

Anonymous said...

If aliens from the planet Zultar were hired and worked hard to provide great service to the COJ, then let them jet in and out Jacktown on a intergalactic space tran rocket ship! Who gives a f($& where they live?
STUPID is as STUPID does! F. Gump

Anonymous said...

@July 10, 2017 at 4:33 PM

We are talking about Madison, Mississippi - NOT Beverly Hills. LMAO!!!!!!!

Sigh With Crickets On The Side said...

Waiting on an explanation of 'cities in the Metro getting on one accord'.

Retired Madison Employee said...

4:33 - The City of Madison does not have a rule that states that city employees have to live in the city. A number of the Public Works employees live in Canton.

Anonymous said...

Darn 10:59... 4:33 SOooo wanted them to have to!

Anonymous said...

I firmly believe in residency requirements. How are you supposed to get money for city services if all your employees are paying their property taxes in another city? If the City of Jackson is good enough for you to work there, it should be good enough for you to live there. Otherwise, there are other places in Jackson for you to work that doesn't require you to reside in the city. As far as the applicant pool, there are qualified residents of Jackson for any job the City has. And that goes for Hinds County too.

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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.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.


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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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