Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Jackson hiring Public Works Director from New Orleans.

It appears Jackson is about to get a new Public Works Director from....... the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board.  The Morning Advocate (BR) reported yesterday:

The Sewerage & Water Board was incapable of dealing with the pace of a series of crises that culminated in breakdowns in pumping and power equipment as well as with staffing shortages that may have exacerbated the Aug. 5 flood in New Orleans, an agency official said Monday.

The series of failures at pumping stations and the plant that powers them came too quickly in recent months for officials to handle, Deputy Director Bob Miller said at a meeting of the board’s Finance Committee, adding to the perception of an agency in disarray.....

Miller will also be leaving the agency, though in his case it’s to take a job with the city of Jackson, Mississippi. Miller accepted that job on the Friday before the flood, and his departure is not related to the current turmoil at the S&WB.

With all hands dealing with the flooding on Aug. 5, a Saturday, Miller did not actually inform his bosses that he had taken a new job until Tuesday. Landrieu did not know he would no longer be at the agency when he suggested Tuesday afternoon that Miller would be a good interim choice to lead the S&WB.

Landrieu has reached out to Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba to see if Miller can stay on at the S&WB through the end of October to help with the transition.

The newspaper reported in the same story:

The flooding may have been made worse because nearly a dozen major drainage pumps were broken and the S&WB was down to just a single generator that could directly power the remaining pumps. In some cases, pumps weren’t turned on until hours after the flooding began, according to agency logs.

FEMA is sending an official to the city to assist in planning for how to cope with storms until the drainage system is back up and running at full capacity, something that may take weeks. Meanwhile, officials have accelerated the process of fixing the broken elements of the system and identifying what else may be vulnerable.

Among the cost estimates so far are $7 million the S&WB spent on emergency generators for the pumping stations and another $15 million it will spend on two large generators to back up the main power plant, WWL-TV reported Monday.

The S&WB has about $85.3 million available in its reserve funds to pay for the emergency repairs, although the drainage system — which is funded through property taxes and has the least money available of the agency’s three arms — will have to borrow from the water and sewer systems to do so.

Using that money will leave the agency with 90 days of cash on hand, the minimum amount required by bond rating agencies.

“My question is: If you had that money available, why didn’t we spend it in July?” Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who serves as president of the board, asked at the committee meeting.

“It’s my understanding that we were severely limited in our capacity to spend money due to how thinly spread our management, supervisory and maintenance teams were in dealing with these crises as they came up quickly,” Miller said.

At a separate committee meeting, staff members went over the agency’s ongoing manpower shortage. Sharon Judkins, a deputy director, said the board had 290 vacancies at the end of July, blaming problems in hiring on cumbersome civil service rules, relatively low pay and a rule that employees must live within Orleans Parish.

Kimberly Johnson, another deputy director, said 16 employees already have hit the yearly maximum of 750 overtime hours, though she said overtime overall is expected to decline this year as the agency hands more work off to contractors the mayor has said are or will be hired to work on fixing the system.

She said the agency’s backlog of work orders has climbed 11 percent since the start of the year and 50 percent since the beginning of 2016. Most of that work involves repairing leaky pipes, she said.

The board has been wrestling with a manpower issue for months, if not years, and it was unclear how much that may have contributed to the crisis that swamped the drainage system Aug. 5. But Landrieu pressed staff members to speed up the process of clearing bottlenecks in the hiring process.

“If there is anything that we can make go forward faster, given our circumstances, we should think about doing that,” he said.  Rest of article.
Kingfish note: Sources say Mr. Miller was highly recommended to the Administration by the EPA.  However, the entire S&WB leadership has recently been shown to be guilty of incompetence, lying, and criminal neglect.  16 pumps didn't work during the recent floods in New Orleans - and the department lied about it.  The department also claimed they were working at full capacity yet later said oops, we meant the pumps that were operational were actually working at full capacity.  Now it appears that several working pumps were not activated during the floods. 
The same newspaper reported:

Newly released logs suggest that some of the city's operable drainage pumps sat idle for hours during last weekend's rain and flooding, potentially compounding problems caused by the pumps that had been taken offline for repairs.

The logs, which were posted online late Friday, raise fresh questions both about the city's readiness and about whether officials at the Sewerage & Water Board consciously misled the public during and after the storm. ....

 The new logs, posted online and analyzed by mechanical engineer Matt McBride on Friday, seem to contradict some of the information presented to the public at a long and contentious City Council hearing Tuesday.

They add to the increasingly urgent questions about the status of the city’s drainage system and raise new concerns that, even beyond the decrepit state of its pumps, turbines and pipes, the Sewerage & Water Board may have failed in its duty to keep the city dry.

 It's unclear why the additional failures were not disclosed by the S&WB, whose two top officials resigned or were fired amid aggressive questioning by the City Council.  Article
 Keep in mind that New Orleans was forced to close schools for two days last week when a turbine that powers the pumping stations went down due to an electrical fire.  The same numbskulls at this agency had taken several turbines offline for maintenance during hurricane season.  The result was the city had exactly one working turbine to power the pumps last week.  You simply can't make this up.  Then there was a problem with the storm drains and catch basins.  The City Council appropriated  $3 million last year to clean out and clean up the catch basins.  Guess what? None of the money has been spent by the city.  Everything you need to know was reported in this post last week. 

Mr. Miller may indeed be blameless in these repeated fiascos.  However, the entire leadership of the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board has either been fired or announced their resignations since the recent floods.  Is this man truly competent and honest or is Jackson unknowingly  providing him with a parachute?  That is a legitimate question to ask of the Mayor and the City Council.

Make no mistake, Mayor Lumumba knows he needs to get this hire right and has made Public Works a focus of his administration.  The revelations about the Board's incompetence and coverups were just reported in the last ten days and were not reported in the local media. Mayor Lumumba should take a very looooooooooooooong look at Mr. Miller.  A very long look.


Anonymous said...

This person obviously did a very good job keeping the pumps in good working condition while working in New Orleans!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

A good example of the perfect fit for a position.

Anonymous said...

Who would expect less from Jackson? Hire the people who could not handle the last job they had. People all over the U.S. know when they cannot handle their job and everything goes to hell they can always come to Jackson and get a good job.

Anonymous said...

WHY ?????????? $ Maybe

Anonymous said...

16 pumps, and what do you get? You get another day older and deeper in debt.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you KF. Jackson is definitely a landing zone for execs in trouble,
but that may be the only way to get a really talented administrator from a major
city. Jackson has major problems and a guy with big city experience might help.
If he's not a typical Louisiana gangster, Jackson may get a bargain. May not.

Anonymous said...

Too early to reach a conclusion. Let the hiring process go forward. Seems the New Orleans
Mayor thinks highly of this gentlemen.

Anonymous said...

Crap detector going off. This isn't even a lateral move for Miller.

Anonymous said...

I bet he told them that he has a Galatoire's house account. Those Friday lunches are must attend events in the Crescent City. Another martini please.

Anonymous said...

At least he has experience. More than we can say about some of Phil's picks.

Kingfish said...

Yup. You define Mississippi: We look to the bottom instead of the top.

Anonymous said...

It least he's willing to come, they are dropping like flies from Trump's Business Panel.

Anonymous said...

What's all the concern? He is perfect for the Jackson, He has already proven he is incompetent. His definition of all equipment working 100% was reexplained as "I meant all equipment that was working at a 100% rate was working at 100%"

Anonymous said...

He disbanded the councils so many people wanted to serve on.

Anonymous said...

Recommended by EPA? What the hell is EPA ; one staff member who is a buddy. What a total joke.

Anonymous said...

No matter what this director will be like - he will be many, many times better than the overrated, overpaid director that Tony had. And besides, he probably won't be into having 'improper' relations with any of the engineers that he will be hiring.

Now, the combination of a NOLA director that operated - or failed to operate - the pumps to keep the city afloat along with a deputy director who's previous experience was as a Councilman for the bankrupt City of Detroit, makes one wonder what to expect. But still, can't be worse than the one that finagled the scoresheets for her boss's preferences.

Anonymous said...

Someone please warn this poor guy and show him a picture of Anna Wolfe. She'll be digging through his trash bin in no time.

Anonymous said...

I used to live in the New Orleans area and the pumps, water and sewer departments have had trouble for years. I'm not saying Miller can not do his job but Jackson's Mayor may need to speak to some of the citizens and hear the real story. I have never been in New Orleans that there was not a shower brewing---then the streets are flooded.
The water is just like Jackson's and the sewer is worse. Jackson needs to hire a qualified, educated engineer with a lot of experience to get the job done. MY opinion, Jackson is to far gone to repair the problem---no one can make it work !!!!!!!!!!! There is not enough money and there will never be.

Anonymous said...

If the goal is to let shit go to waste and wait for a disaster and hope the Feds come in to save the day, why hire this dope. They, being Kennuf and Lamumba, are perfectly capable of destroying anything that resembles something that is working properly. They do not need to hire outside help in screwing up the city. They are doing a GREAT job by themselves.

Anonymous said...

The only way I can see a short term repair to jacksons water and sewer is to use a lot of pvc pipe to get water to areas in need. It's temporary and will hold up for a while. The sewer? Jackson might look at having large catch stations in block by block areas and get FEMA to pump out on a regular basis. It's a bandaid but it beats throwing money at the aged system of patching it. It's too old.

Kingfish said...

This guy may indeed be very good. However, we are past the point in this city of falling for "trust us". There is a reason there is so much cynicism. The infrastructure needs fixing and I damn sure don't want to see the Mayor fail in fixing it. His record at the current employer and the record itself of the current employer is a legitimate topic to discuss.

Anonymous said...

Looks like JJ was the assignment desk for the lazy asses over at the C-L (Anna Wolfe excluded) yet again.

Anonymous said...

Let's see what BabyChok pays this guy considering that salaries was such a huge deal for him during the recent campaign. I'll bet it isn't even a dollar less than what Yarber paid Kishia Powell.

Kingfish said...

Mr. Miller is white. Will that make some of you honkies feel better? ((rolls eyes))

Anonymous said...

System failures caused by decades of neglect, mismanagement, and corruption are to be expected.

Endangering the citizen's lives and property by LYING about them is not only unacceptable -- it's immoral.

So disappointed that this mayor is already showing he's no better than his predecessors, and will likely prove to be worse.

Con men before competence.

Politics before public interest.

It's sad and it's sickening but nothing is going to change until the Jackson electorate does.

Anonymous said...

Well it's looks like the Business Councils voted to disband rather than Trump shutting them down. Isn't that like getting fired

Anonymous said...

I give this city 5-8 years. When it shuts down due to the idiots trying to run it or get paid off we will be looking for a new capital city.

Anonymous said...

In New Orleans it was that moron Landrieu that lied to the citizens rather than the water board and engineers.

Anonymous said...

"You durin' a fine job, Brownie".

Anonymous said...

Move the capital. At least pick a city that has indoor plumbing.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish---I don't give a damn if the guy is green---can he do the job or not !!!!!!!!!!!!!

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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.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

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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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