City Council Updates: Public Programs Suffer Under Budgetary Constraints

Jackson City Council. Photo by Stephen Willson

The following is an overview of the April 2 meeting of the Jackson City Council.

HR Opts for Outside Opinion on Untrained Staff

The Jackson City Personnel department has opted for an outside audit of each department in the city to provide an objective view of internal weaknesses. Director Wilma Scott explained that she has identified communication and management issues as a source of a detrimental amount of grievances. The director believes that many of these issues stem from certain personnel occupying management positions that they do not have the qualifying experience to execute appropriately. “With this information, we hope to improve communications and reduce grievances that, if left unaddressed, could lead to legal action against the city.”

City Council Pays for Outside Software Company to Save Public Works from Bankruptcy

The Public Works Department vied for funding to have an origin technician come to service their recently installed billing management system. Director Robert Miller said that this step was essential to issuing final notices to residents, a desperate attempt to collect unpaid bills that, in some cases, reach up to 12,000 dollars per individual.

In a March 28 special session of the City Council, councilman Stamps raised an inquiry into the number of residents illegally tampering with the water system. Miller said that in his best estimates they could reach into the three to ten thousand range. Stamps suggested that Jackson use the full extent of the law to prosecute these individuals who have committed a misdemeanor under city code. Lumumba fired back at Stamps to assert that because the system has been flawed for so long, residents should not have to bear the full responsibility for the current situation. After another round of dispute, Lumumba refrained and just said, “There are reasons for my position that we must talk about in private session.”

City Neglects Waste Management Employees for Months

Waste Management has not been paid in “a few months” according to Beuford Clark, Chase Bryant, and David Holloway who came before the council to express their distress. Choking on tears, Clark said that he acknowledges the city’s financial hardship and stated that his 30-year partnership with the City of Jackson has served to cut costly projects, like Jackson’s entire recycling program, to serve the city’s budgetary restraints.

“We have a valid contract.” Clark said “We’ve come in good faith to Director Miller several times, nothing has changed. We would like some resolution passed that rectifies our payment as soon as possible.”

Council members hurried through the closing procedure to go into an executive session called by Melvin Priester.