Thursday, May 23, 2024

EPA Blows Off Mayor Lumumba

The Mayor tried to get JXN Water Manager Ted Henifin in trouble with the EPA, oh how he tried.  For all of his troubles however, the EPA blew off Mayor Lumumba.  

Hizzoner sent a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan on March 27 that was rife with complaints about Mr. Henifin.   Mayor Lumumba griped Mr. Henifin was not using competitive bidding to award contracts: 

Lack of Competitive Procurement: The Interim Stipulated Order (ISO) directs the ITPM to employ competitive procurement processes to ensure the residents of Jackson receive optimal services at competitive rates. Despite the end of the initial emergency response phase more than a year ago, the ITPM has failed to initiate competitive procurement processes for water system operations and maintenance as required. Most notably, the ITPM remains stalwart in its intention to award a 10-year, $250 million contract to Jacobs Engineering for the City's drinking water system, without any procurement process. This not only contravenes the ISO but also deprives Jackson of the opportunity to secure the best pricing and incorporate community benefits into procurement documents. The inflated cost of these non-competitive contracts will be passed on to Jackson's residents who are already struggling with increased water rates. We urge the EPA to inform the ITPM of its status as an instrumentality of government with an obligation to conduct competitive procurement processes for operations, maintenance, and management contracts, as well as any significant construction projects, to ensure transparency and equitable distribution of public funds.

Coming from the Mayor who wrecked the competitive bidding process and used so-called emergencies to award no-bid contracts to Richard's Disposal, this is somewhat rich.  The real target of this particular complaint is the Jacob's Engineering contract.  The Mayor and the Sisters of Rukia want to give that contract to one of the favored few, competency be damned.  However, the Mayor was just getting started. 

Lack of Progress on Priority Projects: The ISO outlines specific priority projects to be completed within designated timeframes. However, JXN Water's fourth-quarter progress report indicates significant delays in many of these projects. While JXN Water cites USEPA-approved schedule extensions in its report, the City of Jackson has not received documentation of these approvals. Timely completion of these priority projects is crucial for ensuring the residents of Jackson have access to safe drinking water and clean waterways. Recent incidents, including numerous boil water notices and raw sewage spills into the Pearl River, underscore the urgency of this matter. We request the EPA's continued monitoring of JXN Water's progress on these critical projects and urge for their timely completion.

As the USEPA knows, timely progress on these priority projects means a great deal to the residents of Jackson, who deserve safe drinking water and clean waterways at the earliest possible time.

During the past quarter, JXN Water reported:

81 boil water notices throughout the City's drinking water system,

• 250 million gallons of raw sewage spilled into the Pearl River, and

• Continued delays to the OB Curtis water treatment plant's corrosion control system,

necessitating a corresponding extension of the Mississippi Department of Health's advisory to pregnant women and young children, which the ITPM has publicly questioned and dismissed.

Hmm...... and how many of these problems was the Mayor and his team guilty of when they ran the water/sewer system? Inquiring minds want to know.  

Next up at bat was Mayor Lumumba's claim there is little communication with JXN Water: 

Insufficient Communication and Coordination: The ISO mandates regular communication and coordination between the ITPM and the City of Jackson. However, meaningful coordination with the Mayor's Office has been lacking since the end of Q2 2023. Effective communication is vital for addressing the challenges faced by Jackson residents and ensuring they receive the highest quality water and wastewater services. We call upon the EPA to direct the ITPM to resume regular communication and coordination as stipulated in the ISO.
Mr. Henifin and his team meet with Chief Administrative Officer Louis Wright on a regular basis but ok, bossman, have it your way.  

Finances did not escape the Mayor's notice either: 

Uncertainty in Financial Planning: Along with the Q4 2023 reports associated with the water and sewer system orders, the ITPM also released a revised Financial Management Plan (FMP) in early February 2024. This revised plan presents two scenarios, one with a 41% rate increase and one, preferred by the ITPM, that relies on the U.S. Congress to modify the appropriation of $600 million in the Consolidation Appropriations Act of 2023 (H.R. 2617) to allow its use for both water and sewer debt retirement. The City does not support this text amendment to retire the debt for several reasons, which are: (a) the uncertainty surrounding Congress' willingness to modify the existing appropriation language; (b) the lack of progress on this change in the past year; and (c) the ITPM's failure to actively pursue additional federal funding sources likely creating an inevitable 41% rate increase. An increase of this scale would cripple residents and subvert efforts to regrow our tax base.

Last but not least was something that drew the ire of the Mayor more than once this year: the State Senate bill that would allow the state to buy the water/sewer system from Jackson so it could create a utility district. The Mayor fired at Mr. Henifin with both barrels:

Improper Public Support for Mississippi Legislation as an Officer of the Court: On November 29, 2022, and July 31, 2023, Ted Henifin was appointed as the ITPM for Jackson's public water and sewer systems, respectively. Per court orders, the ITPM and his agents are officers and agents of the court. As an "arm of the court," the ITPM has a fiduciary duty to properly manage, exercise reasonable care, and act in good faith over the city's public assets. However, the ITPM has breached this wall of neutrality and impartiality by publicly endorsing MS Legislature Senate Bill 2628, thus jeopardizing judicial propriety, perception of impartiality, meddling in politics, opening potential conflicts of interest, and interfering with ongoing litigation. On February 23, 2024, the ITPM, via a JXN Water press release, supported SB 2628-which would allow the creation of a regional authority to acquire water and sewer assets from the city-as well as offered potential amendments for the legislation. Above all, the ITPM appointment as receiver of Jackson's public water and sewer systems is for remedial purposes-not to punitively punish the city and its residents-with the ultimate goal of complying with federal environmental and drinking water laws for the health and safety of the environment and public health.

Is it punishing the city when the city has proven through successive mayoral administrations it can not manage the water/sewer system?  


The Lord Protector of Jackson concluded with some parting shots at Ted Henifin: 

In closing, while we appreciate the EPA's assistance, the current oversight of Jackson's water and sewer systems falls short of the collaborative approach envisioned in our initial partnership. Unilateral decision­ making, lack of communication, acts that breach neutrality of a court-appointed officer, and non­ competitive awarding of contracts undermine the principles of transparency and equity. We urge the EPA to collaborate with the judiciary and the Department of Justice to address these concerns and ensure the residents of Jackson receive the assistance they deserve. Moreover, this oversight must serve as a model of justice and equity for other communities facing similar challenges.

Actually, Mr. Mayor, there is no partnership between the city and JXN Water as described above.  Jackson's water system was placed in receivership.  Period.  The Mayor negotiated mightily to ensure the words "receivership" and "receiver" were not used in the interim stipulated order that created JXN Water.  However, make no mistake, the Court took away control of Jackson's water'sewer system and gave it to the Court-appointed receiver, Ted Henifin and JXN Water.  The terms such as lack of competitive bidding were agreed to by the Mayor in the stipulated order.  

The EPA replied a month letter but delegated the task to Acting Region IV Administrator Jeaneanne Gettle.  She minced no words in putting the Mayor in his place: 

Work to stabilize and improve the City's drinking water system is ongoing under a November 2022 Interim Stipulated Order (ISO} between the United States, the State of Mississippi and the City of Jackson. The EPA continues to oversee the ISO's implementation and we recognize that progress towards full compliance is ongoing.

We note since entry of the ISO,

production capacity at both water treatment plants has increased and stabilized. JXN Water has also made significant progress on critical equipment projects at both water treatment plants including filter repairs, corrosion control optimization and winterization. Although there are continued boil water advisories, typically these have been issued in conjunction with JXN Water's line and fire hydrant replacement work. Almost all the boil water advisories are discrete and of short duration and we expect a downward trend in boil water notices as repairs are made. JXN Water has developed a website where quarterly status reports and other updates about the system are posted and holds quarterly community engagement events
Ouch!  As for SB #2628, Ms. Gettle decreed: 

With regard to proposed Mississippi Senate Bill 2628, which did not make it out of committee, the EPA will continue to closely monitor any legislation that may have an impact on current litigation and negotiations. However, the EPA generally does not comment on proposed state legislation.
No bureaucratic gobbledygook in this response.  The Regional Administrator thanked the Mayor for flying EPA Airlines: 

Thank you again for your letter. The EPA is committed to ensuring that the citizens of Jackson have access to safe and reliable drinking water. We look forward to our continued weekly meetings with representatives of the City and JXN Water to track the progress of ISO implementation and associated improvements to Jackson's drinking water system. If the City would like to further discuss the concern identified in your letter, please have your attorneys contact DOJ attorney Karl Fingerhood (202-514- 7519) or EPA attorney Suzanne Armor (404-562-9701). If you have further questions about other EPA matters, please contact me directly, or your staff may contact the region's Public Affairs Director, Davina Marraccini, at {404) 562-8293 or
Kingfish note: Make no mistake, the Mayor was trying to interfere with Ted Henifin but the EPA saw through it all and slammed the Mayor.  Mr. Regan has bent over backwards to help Hizzoner but some people are just never satisfied.  

Both letters are posted above. 

Neither Mayor Lumumba or the EPA cc'ed Mr. Henifin.  


Anonymous said...

Thank you Tate Reeves. And thank you Ted Henifen.

If the Governor had not called the State of Emergency when he did and taken over the water system, Ted Henifen would have never been appointed as the Receiver. And the Governor knew it was a Receivership when the State signed off on the EPA Order.

The Mayor claimed - over and over- it was a “partnership” but the State knew it was a “Receivership.”

And Jackson Water is so much better with Henifen in charge.

Anonymous said...

WE all know that the Chuckster is just butt-hurt that he can't get his hands on all those federal dollars. The SOB couldn't run a kool-aid stand, much less a water/sewer system. The CoJ has proven over the last 30 years that it can't run much of anything on its own. The Feds have finally realized that, whether they be democrats or republicans.

Anonymous said...

This what you get for voting a hackneyed defense lawyer for a Mayor.

Anonymous said...

The poor Mayor just can't get a break from all the white folks who are fed up with his "poor pitiful me" excuses for his own ineptitude!!!

Bo Rankin said...

Not only is the current mayor incompetent at his job, but he instead spends his time stirring up controversy where there is none. He cannot be replaced soon enough.

Anonymous said...

"Mayor Lumumba griped Mr. Henifin was not using competitive bidding to award contracts: "

Translation: Chowke is unable to receive kickbacks if he can't do race-based "contract steering."

Anonymous said...

Equity-- we deserve Equity.

Anonymous said...

This is like the fox calling the cops on the new hen-house guard dog because the fox is mad he can't steal the eggs anymore.

And I also want to apologize to foxes everywhere for comparing you to Choke.
That was a low blow and I should be ashamed of myself.

Anonymous said...

In Jackson-no good deed goes unpunished.

Anonymous said...

Would be nice if the Mayor was actually concerned about and focused on creating the type of City that would attract new businesses and new residents so that water rates could decrease down the road, instead he is concerning himself with matters that are not within his control that were previously within his control that he could have solved years ago.

Anonymous said...

The mayor's preening vanity prevents him from seeing that he is no longer relevant to this matter, that he's off the field, out of the game. Get lost, you loser, and stop pestering everyone with your frivolous gambits to claw back some power.

Anonymous said...

To the self-appointed field marshal of the new afrika republic:

Even the progressive bureaucrats riddled with white guilt recognize your incompetence and have quietly walled you off from meaningful participation.

Anonymous said...

What a sore loser and f***ing crybaby. He’s told so many lies that he doesn’t know who he’s talking to anymore. Michael Regan knows full well that Lumumba is a piss poor, no good grifter.

Anonymous said...

In actual regard to the Mayor of the City of Jackson, say this with me, “Pride Cometh Before The Fall.”

Anonymous said...

I didn't know the Mayor had the alternative name Karen. Now we know.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me the proper place to make the complaints would be in the federal district court that is overseeing the water ad sewer systems.

But judge Wingate sees through Lumumba, and Lumumba knows it, so he didn't even try.

Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHAHA love this.

"This not only contravenes the ISO but also deprives Jackson of the opportunity to secure the best pricing and incorporate community benefits into procurement documents."

You mean community benefits that an organization with ties to your family just so happens to provide?

How about we just continue the community benefit of providing reliable drinking water like JXN Water has been working to do since they took over?

Nice to see the EPA continues to see through the mayor's charade, calling him out on the misleading stats he provided on boil water notices largely associated with REPAIRS to our infrastructure. But in the mayor's defense, boil water notices as a result of infrastructure repairs are not something he would be familiar with! Good try, Antar!


Anonymous said...

This is the primary reason I check your blog. I love it when you slap that bitch-ass-mayor around with solid fact-checking.

Anonymous said...

Well Hizzhoner can’t say does not have options. Let’s review: Karl Fingerhood DOJ, Suzanne Armor EPA, Davina Marraccini EP or last; but not least Jeaneanne Gettle EPA. He has multiple choices & left Honorable Judge Wingate out! lol smh I guess he is headed to the Smoke Bar for a drink.

Anonymous said...

So all of those words in his letter to say...
--my friends, family and people who have donated to me aren't getting any contracts and money!
--totally against water and sewer debt retirement because I want that money!
--"Unilateral decision­ making" cause Ted won't shut up and obey me!! Me!!!

And great statement from poster
"This is like the fox calling the cops on the new hen-house guard dog because the fox is mad he can't steal the eggs anymore."

Wonder if Ted has finally got it now. We warned him. I disagree with him on several issues in the past (basing water bills on value of home as an example) but I'm white, so I'm just not important, except for being told I have to pay for others.

And Mayor, what about those 7,000 hookups that just didn't have to pay a water bill?

Thank God for Judge Wingate.

Anonymous said...

Lil Choke violated ancient wisdom:
"Don't poison your own well".

Anonymous said...

Why can't Rukia pay her property taxes on time? Seriously.

Anonymous said...

Hizzoner has only one card to play, and that card is not winning with the POC (EPA Administrator Michael Regan and Judge Henry Wingate) that are driving the boat. He should either find better cards or move to a different game. I hear Haiti needs a new Prime Minister.

Anonymous said...

It's all about getting control of who gets hired for what contract back into the hands of the mayor so he can get his kickback.

Anonymous said...

Hissoner can’t control the kickbacks if he can’t control the projects and hiring and contracts and such….

Anonymous said...

I am actually looking forward to Melissa Faith Payne's tell all book of this administration. The stories that she could tell! Sign me up for 10 copies Melissa!

Anonymous said...

Every time the mayor does something like this, it just draws more federal attention to his very obvious contract steering schemes, especially as they pertain to water and garbage. And this brushback by the EPA couldn't come at a worst time for him, given the events of yesterday and with the feds prowling all around downtown. If he had any sense, he'd be shittin' green right about now.

Anonymous said...

The name Maracinni won't resonate positively with the Sisterhood.

Anonymous said...

MFP has consumed too much kool-aid.

Anonymous said...

We still haven't heard what the FBI agents were doing at City Hall yesterday. Inquiring minds would like to know.

Anonymous said...

If Melissa were smart she would leave ASAP!

Anonymous said...

May 23, 2024 at 8:06 PM
Pretty good chance she's got the Golden Handcuffs known as PERS. But yeah as soon as she's eligible she should jump ship.

Anonymous said...

City of Jackson said they were unaware of any FBI visit to City Hall.

Anonymous said...

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the city of Jackson is unaware of what is going on at the city hall. They are not even sure what is happening anywhere in Jackson.

Anonymous said...

The Mayor's office issued a written statement to the media saying they had no comment on the FBI visit.

Anonymous said...

As long as Melissa stays within city, or state she can transfer & retain her Pers or even county

Anonymous said...

I suspect any Federal agency is about done with Jackson until they catch up their annual audits.

The COVID excuses are over.

Anonymous said...

Broke my heart to see Melissa Faith Payne go to the mayor's office. What a shame.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel


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