Council says mayor’s decision to issue a notice to proceed violates terms of Richard’s emergency contract

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Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 1:44 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Jackson City Council is asking for an emergency hearing in a case that could determine who picks up your trash.

Wednesday, an attorney for the council filed for an emergency hearing and injunctive relief in Hinds County Chancery Court, asking the court for an injunction to block the mayor’s notice to proceed from being implemented.

Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba recently gave Richard’s Disposal a notice to proceed to pick up residential garbage beginning April 1, as part of his emergency order over garbage collections.

The mayor signed off on the contract on Feb. 17, despite the fact that the council twice voted down hiring the company, court records state.

“It is pertinent to emphasize that the subject company that (the) petitioner entered into a contract with for garbage and waste collection has never received a majority vote from the city council,” the petition states. “Therefore, the petitioner must be made to cease and desist forthwith.”

Meanwhile, the council argues that the mayor’s actions violate terms of the Richard’s emergency contract.

“Section 10.2 of the contract provides, ‘upon execution of this agreement, the parties agree that should the city council fail to approve the need for continuing the local emergency or fail to authorize compensation for this agreement... performance under this agreement is suspended or terminated.”

Richard's contract terms.
Richard's contract terms.(WLBT)

Lumumba declared a state of emergency on Feb. 17. A week later, on Feb. 24, the council voted to leave the emergency in place but amended it to remove provisions awarding a one-year contract to Richard’s in lieu of leaving the current trash contractor in place.

That contractor is Waste Management. Jackson’s six-month emergency deal with that firm expires on March 31.

Later, on March 8, the council lifted the state of emergency and voted twice to deny ratifying the Richard’s contract.

At that meeting, Deputy City Attorney Terry Williamson said the mayor had already issued a notice to proceed to the company. However, he did not say what day the notice had been issued.

The council further states that under terms of Richard’s contract, the notice to proceed could not be issued until the contract “has been approved by the city council or otherwise authorized by a court of competent jurisdiction.”

(Reporter’s note: The filings are listed below. The exhibits attached appear to be out of order. Also, the final page appears to be a set of instructions related to the filing.)

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