Governor Tate Reeves addressed the City of Jackson’s recent issuing of its own request for proposals (RFP) to hire a new water management vendor, calling the move an act of “total incompetence of this mayor and administration.”
On Wednesday, the capital city’s administration sent out a new RFP that would remove the state’s involvement in the contract procurement process, contradicting claims made by Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba two days before.
Reeves had expressed his disapproval of the rumored RFP on Monday, stating 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. Lumumba replied to Reeves’ accusations on social media, stating that “the governor’s recent statement is an unfortunate misrepresentation.”
Now, as the rumor of the city’s RFP has been confirmed, Reeves has once again publicly commented on the matter, accusing Lumumba of trying to play politics through the contract procurement process.
“As long as the state, over the last 52 days, is doing little things to make sure the water system is operated, the mayor was perfectly fine with it,” Reeves stated during Thursday’s Turkey Pardoning. “But when it comes time to put your thumb on the scale for a contractor, just like he did in garbage… he decided, ‘Hey, not only do I want to have a seat at the table, I want to control of this,’”
Reeves continued, explaining that the wording in the city’s RFP is almost a complete copy of the state’s request for qualifications (RFQ).
“Because if you go back and look at the two documents that come out this week, 95 to 99 percent exactly the same. You know what’s different? Who chooses vendor. Who chooses the contractor,” Reeves said.
The City of Jackson verified Reeves’ claims that the city chooses the vendor in a social media post, but added that its RFP includes specific terms requested by the EPA that are not in MEMA’s RFQ. The post also stated that the City of Jackson will continue to work beside its local, state, and federal partners.