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Jackson’s city engineer to retire May 1, mayor’s office confirms

Charles Williams had been with the city of Jackson for more than two decades
Charles Williams
Charles Williams(WLBT)
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 11:10 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - For the last three years, the one constant during Jackson’s water crisis has been the reassuring, calm demeanor of Charles Williams, who was intimately familiar with the myriad of challenges facing the Capital City from his time in the city’s public works department.

Now after more than two decades with the city, Williams has decided to retire.

His last day with the city will be May 1, having submitted a letter of retirement to the mayor’s office Monday, spokesperson Justin Vicory confirmed.

“My understanding is that he served his time with the city and he’s got the opportunity to retire, and so he’s taking it,” Vicory said.

Williams became the public face of the city’s efforts to repair its water and sewer systems after serving as interim public works director following Robert Miller’s resignation.

The city council later confirmed his appointment to be the permanent public works director in August 2020, a position he held for a year before stepping down to continue as city engineer.

Even then, though, Williams continued to answer questions and address public concerns about the city’s public works issues instead of current public works director Marlin King.

Most recently, Williams sat down with WLBT for an in-depth series on the February 2021 winter storms that caused the city’s entire surface water system to collapse.

During that interview, we asked Williams about being the public face of the city’s water woes and the weight that carries when it comes to reassuring tens of thousands of residents.

“We have a job to do. And part of that is to tell story and tell it as factual as possible. And we want to be transparent. We know that there are a lot of people that have been making negative comments that may not understand, you know, the complexity of what we have to deal with. And that’s fine,” Williams said in January. “You know, we we understand that’s going to happen, what I try to tell our team is that look, you know, stay focused on the plan.”

Williams has not responded to requests for comment on his resignation announcement.

3 On Your Side has reached out to the mayor’s office for comment.

Vicory said Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba plans to address it at next week’s press briefing, scheduled for Monday.

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