The City of Jackson has issued its own request for proposals (RFP) to hire a new water management vendor, contradicting claims made by Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba less than two days later.
On Monday, Governor Tate Reeves released a statement detailing Lumumba’s plans to end Jackson’s cooperation with the Unified Command Structure (UCS) by refusing to select a third-party water operator. Reeves’ explained that all state assistance in keeping Jackson’s water stable will be cut off as a result if Lumumba does not participate in the selection process alongside federal and state water experts.
We have been told by city officials that the Mayor of Jackson is planning to functionally end the city’s cooperation with the Unified Command Structure—the team that has been keeping Jackson water stable. Details below: pic.twitter.com/0m54OnWdgF
— Governor Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) October 17, 2022
Later that day, Lumumba addressed Reeves’ claims on social media, stating that “the governor’s recent statement is an unfortunate misrepresentation.”
Lumumba added that Jackson will continue to work with UCS, but that he did not agree with Reeves’ attempt to exclude the city from being a part of the selection of a contract.
The governor’s recent statement is an unfortunate misrepresentation. The City continues to work with UCS. We simply do not agree with the governor’s attempt to exclude Jackson from being a part of the selection of an O&M contract paid for by Jackson residents. pic.twitter.com/c8Asfo5iKm
— Chokwe Antar Lumumba (@ChokweALumumba) October 17, 2022
Prior to the city’s recently released RFP, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Health, and the City of Jackson were in the process of scoring bids made by water operators with the intention of selecting a contractor. In the state’s request for qualifications, the city and state would be required to rank proposals on a 100-point scale and present the final recommendation to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).
The city’s new RFP would instead include evaluations made by two public works staffers and one expert from the U.S. Water Alliance, as well as suggestions from the U.S. EPA Region IV and the Mississippi State Department of Health. Proposals for the 12-month contract are due at 1:00 p.m. on November 7.
Both the state and city’s requests would require Jackson to pay the vendor throughout the contract’s duration.