Jackson Trash Collection goes wrong

A walk through the Fondren neighborhood of Jackson last week showed more trash cans and trash bags than usual.

Some of it was litter left over from the first pick up of the week which didn’t happen and some was for the scheduled second pick up of the week.

This was the case not only in Fondren but in other areas of the city.

Using Facebook and Nextdoor to communicate, residents kept up to date with how long it took Richard’s Disposal, the company that handles pickup and works under an emergency contract, to get to their homes. streets.

City leaders advised residents to leave uncollected garbage on the sidewalk for pickup and blamed the delays in garbage collection on unexpected closures of the garbage transfer facility where garbage is dumped for disposal.

The city has threatened to take legal action to ensure the waste transfer facility, owned and operated by Waste Management, remains open. Waste Management said they were happy to receive disposal trucks from Richard during normal business hours.

Neither Ward 1 council member Ashby Foote nor Ward 7 council member Virgi Lindsay could provide the number of trucks Richard had on the street. Louis Wright, the city’s chief administrative officer, did not return a call to find out how many trucks were picking up trash.

A call for Richard’s elimination went unreturned.

Lindsay wouldn’t discuss trash pickup due to ongoing litigation.

Foote admitted the standoff between the mayor and council over the garbage contract does not inspire confidence.

“It undermines people’s trust in city government when they see us getting contentious on an issue that you take for granted,” he said.

The city of Jackson’s contract with Waste Management expired on March 31 and residents, who have learned to live with an aging sewer system, potholes in the streets and even crime, were frustrated that their bins are not emptied in time.

Comments on Nextdoor ranged from “I used to say the only utility you could always count on in Jackson was trash pickup” to “maybe we should take our trash and throw it in the mayor’s door.

After the city council twice rejected Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba’s proposal to hire Richard’s Disposal, the mayor declared an emergency and signed an emergency contract with Richard’s. The city council did not approve it.

The council and the mayor took the case to court.

The city’s garbage contract has been in play since last fall. The mayor presented to council on January 11 four recommendations based on the request for proposals published on October 21, 2021 and amended on November 18, 2021.

The council asked the mayor to consider the two recommendations that would provide twice-weekly garbage pickup, with and without a provider delivering 96-gallon garbage carts, not the two recommendations for once-a-week service, with and without the garbage cart.

No vendor names were attached to the recommendations received by the board, consistent with how the selection process is managed.

Catoria “Tori” Martin, a city attorney who has specialized for most of her career in government contracts, explained at town hall meetings across the city last fall that proposals would be evaluated using a “blind rating”, which means that the name of a supplier is not revealed at this time. indicate.

She said Mississippi State offered blind scoring to assess the proposals after former Mississippi Department of Corrections commissioner Chris Epps was indicted in 2014 for accepting bribes. and bribes in exchange for contracts and illicit activities with various prison establishments. He was sentenced in May 2017 to nearly 20 years in federal prison and fined $100,000 for leading one of the largest and longest-running criminal conspiracies in state history.

Martin pointed to one advantage that blind scoring offers: “It definitely allows you to have a less biased review of these proposals because you don’t know who the vendors are when you assign the scores.”

A six-member evaluation committee, including three employees from the Department of Public Works and three from the City’s management team, conducted a blind review of each supplier’s technical proposal.

The technical proposal, which outlines a vendor’s plan to perform the required service, counted for 30% of a vendor’s overall score. The rest of the score consisted of a proposed fee, 35%; presentation/interview, 25%; experience, 10%; equal business opportunity plan, 10%; qualifications and key personnel, 10%; and referrals, 5 percent.

The evaluation period was scheduled from November 23 to December 13, 20221 and the oral presentations were scheduled from December 6 to 8, 2021.

Martin said in January that it takes about 60 days to switch from one provider to another.

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