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Waste Management extension letter sent to mayor; Lumumba claims he hasn’t seen it

Mayor alleges council president’s remarks are proof of talks between garbage provider and council
Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba
Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 10:32 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba alleges that city council members have been working with the city’s current garbage collections vendor to reach an agreement to extend those services temporarily and said the company never offered that option to him, despite a letter from the company that arrived at the mayor’s office hours before the mayor made his statement.

The letter from Waste Management, obtained by 3 On Your Side, said the company “remains ready and willing to resume negotiations with the city” to provide services after the current contract expires Sept. 30.

“The city of Jackson is an important customer to Waste Management, and we want to ensure there is no interruption of service to Jackson residents,” said Waste Management of Mississippi, Inc. Area Vice President Domenica Farmer. “Waste Management, therefore, is willing to provide services to the city during the month of October at the same rates as those specified in our existing contract.”

That letter was sent via email to Lumumba and all seven city council members.

Lumumba claimed in a lengthy statement Wednesday evening that this option Lindsay mentioned during a press briefing hours earlier was evidence the council was having talks with a vendor without including the mayor’s office.

“Lindsay -- and the council members who voted with her, (sic) now seem to have come to an agreement with Waste Management,” Lumumba said in his statement. “Negotiations between Lindsay and those who voted with her are outside the council’s purview as members of the legislative branch.”

The letter itself, however, does not indicate such talks have been taking place, even addressing both the mayor and council as a whole at the very beginning.

Farmer said in the letter that this extension would give the city and Waste Management another opportunity to resume long-term negotiations and “hopefully enter into a new agreement.”

The mayor said in his statement that he is now “legally prohibited under state law” from giving Waste Management any type of contract unless it’s under the bid process or another declared emergency.

“A majority of the council -- in their apparent zeal to side with Waste Management -- has put my office in an impossible situation,” Lumumba said Wednesday.

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