Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Jackson Water Treatment Plants: Help Wanted

Jackson's water treatment plants needs some hired help and needs it fast. The EPA slammed Jackson for failing to staff the water treatment plants with qualified employees.  The lack of employees placed the neglect of the water treatment system under the EPA's microscope. Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba told WLBT last week it is hard to hire the much-needed personnel:

On finding quality workers, the mayor says they must be Class A operators and they are difficult to find.

Mayor Lumumba said, “the City of Jackson’s water treatment facility is the only one of its kind in the state of Mississippi. We have the largest water treatment facility in the state. It requires Class A operators which you can’t get from any other city because they don’t need the same type, they don’t need the same level of expertise there. And so that becomes a challenge in how we find people to help support our water treatment facility.”

Once again, the Mayor was not exactly telling the truth.  JJ submitted a public records request to the Mississippi Department of Health and found there are no less than 62 Class A operators in Mississippi.* There are 17 in Hinds County although some work for other agencies.  

There are a list of open positions at the two water treatment plants on the city website.  Check out the salaries and how long the openings have been posted. 

The Instrument Technician position has been open since 2018.   The absence of such a key position was one of the main reasons so much neglect and disrepair took place at the water treatment plants.  

However, Jackson only pays $13.639 an hour for that crucial job.  The hourly rate of pay translates into $547 per week and $2,200 per month.  The employee could make more money working at Costco.  Remember, the job went open for over three years.  

There are two openings for Water Plant Operator I.  They have been posted for over two years.  Such personnel must possess a Class D water works certificate or obtain one within 18 months of hire. The pay is only $12.71 per hour - a grand total of $508 per week and $2,035 per month.  


Next up are two open positions for Water Plant Operations Supervisor.   This is the position that requires the coveted Class A water works certificate.  The experience requirement might trip up some candidates as they must have five years of experience at a water treatment plant that includes two years in a supervisory position. 

Unfortunately, the pay is only.... drum roll...... $17.46 per hour.  The gross hourly pay translates into $700 per week.    Carry it forward to 52 weeks and Jackson is paying in the neighborhood of $37,000 per year.  The EPA said Jackson only had two Class A operators per shift when four should be on duty.  

The EPA wasn't playing around when it told Jackson to hire more qualified people to run its water treatment plants.  The salaries posted may indeed be the market rates for those jobs.  However, allowing those jobs to go vacant for so long placed Jackson in the position it is today.  Jackson needs to do whatever it takes to fully staff the water treatment plants.  If that means pay more money, then pay it.  If it means recruiting out of state, recruit away.   If that means cutting funds for zoos and summer concerts, then cut.   

Adapting, overcoming, and improvising seem to escape this crew. 

Kingfish note: Here is a piece of unsolicited advice for the Mayor.  Get rid of the residency requirement.  The ordinance allows you to do so.  Jackson is going to have a hard time hiring operators who would have to stick their kids in a "D" school system or send their kids to "F" high schools.   You allow Dr. Omari to live in Ridgeland.  Why don't you give the workers we actually need the same freedom instead of your friends. 


* List of Class A operators 



Anonymous said...

So, trying to find qualified workers inside the City of Jackson is hard? You don't say.

Anonymous said...

Baby Chowke has been known to water down the truth.

Anonymous said...

Incompetence on steroids-

Anonymous said...

More vital local reporting about one of the most important issues facing Jackson.

Accountability IS transparency. Other media has completely ignored that fact and obfuscated because their naked water carrying and purposeful misdirection has exposed their voices as those of the fraudulent and compromised.

Kingfish provides deep digging and needed context for the full community since every Jacksonian needs and uses water.

Jackson has a Mayor who to this day would not have revealed the existence of this emergency order of the Federal government if it wasn't for Jackson Jambalaya.

Anonymous said...

KF you’re now doing the work for him. That’s what he’s used too. Screwing up, lying about and someone else cleaning up his mess.

Anonymous said...

Yeah you're not going to get quality candidates with that pay scale. Problem with gov't pay scales.

Anonymous said...

turn a knob here and turn a knob there.

Anonymous said...

Restaurants can't get anybody to come to work. Why would somebody go work in a sewer?

Anonymous said...

This means there's not a single thing about the city's water system crisis the mayor hasn't lied about.

Anonymous said...

4:46 - this is the WATER treatment plant being discussed here, not the SEWER treatment plant. They are two separate and distinct things. Just like the Stokes "boo boo water" has nothing to do with what is being provided through the pipes to drink - he was referring to the commodes that could not flush due to lack of water.

Try to stay on message here. It is bad enough with the facts and the subject matter. Don't need to try to 'muddle the water' - the drinking water, that is.

Anonymous said...

Target pays $15 per hour. So does Costco, Whole Foods and Amazon (soon to be in Canton). Walmart is $13 for the delivery guys.

Hobby Lobby starts at $15.70.

And Chok pays water techs only 12-13 per hour?

Nuff said.

Chok's wife is smarter than him. He should hire her to advise him.

Anonymous said...

For the most part, the City's pay scale hasn't kept pace with inflation over the last 30 years. The salary range for most of its "low-level" employees is nearly the same as it was in the mid-1990s. Only the Mayor, his executives, and his department heads have the luxury of getting periodic pay adjustments and other *perks* (like Dr. Ridgeland Omari). The whole salary book should be overhauled and wages adjusted to be more competitive across the board, with key positions requiring additional skills and certifications adjusted to reflect the critical nature of their role.

Jimmy B said...

If the election was tomorrow he would still get 70% of the vote. No sympathy from me on this. The federal government will step in with millions eventually and fix everything and in five years they will have to do it again.

Water, sewer, fire, police and streets should be a priority for every city government. When a person is re-elected with 70% of the vote and is a total failure in all of the departments mentioned tells me all I need to know about the people in the city of Jackson.

Anonymous said...

Even if the pay was considerably better, no one smart enough to do the job would work for the City of Jackson.

Anonymous said...

@7:47am - Kinda hard to find the extra money for salary increases when you’re too busy running off your tax base.

Anonymous said...

Isn’t one of these operators the current public works director?

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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.

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