Jackson Mayor Frank Melton dismissed rumors at a Monday press conference that he had forced a local contractor into subcontracting a Louisiana company he originally favored to remove debris from an April 4 storm in North Jackson.
"There have been a lot of rumors going around, but the key players (in debris removal) are Socrates Garrett and (Integrated Management Services President) John Calhoun and myself. Those are the key players," Melton said. "If there's any information you need, one of the three of us will do the best we can. ... The rest of that stuff; just forget about it, because it's about competition, it's about greed and it's about money, and I'm not going to put up with it."
Jackson City Council members initially reported Pearl River-based Nungesser Industries was doing unauthorized debris removal in North Jackson on Friday, and warned the company would not be paid for its work if not properly contracted. The Jackson City Council had picked Garrett Enterprises to remove the debris at $15 per cubic yard earlier last week, but Melton made it plain to the council before their decision that he wanted Nungesser to have the contract.
Garrett, who endorsed Melton's rival during Melton's mayoral campaign, told the Jackson Free Press Friday morning that his workers had identified Nungesser employees doing debris removal in North Jackson, despite Garrett Enterprise netting the city contract. By Friday afternoon, however, city officials announced that the company had subcontracted with Garrett, though Garrett reported no knowledge of a subcontract that morning.
Melton denied rumors that he had threatened to pull Garrett's contract on a technicality if Garrett did not take on Nungesser as a subcontractor.
Garrett neither denied nor affirmed the rumor when contacted on Monday.
Council President Leslie McLemore said the whole situation smelled of mob tactics.
"Undue pressure shouldn't be brought to bear on the contractor to do business with a favorite subcontractor that the mayor has. There's been this interference, and this wishy-washy approach to public policy that is something the city of Jackson does not deserve," McLemore said.
This is not the first time the mayor's support for a specific contractor has come under question. In 2007, Melton allegedly attempted to pull a Jackson Public Schools board member's re-nomination if he did not vote in favor of Integrated Management Services for a school bond manager contract.
The debris-removal contractors may wanna stick around for awhile. After all, we're gonna need some people to clean up after this mayor.
- golden eagle
Surely no one is surprised at the actions of the mayor. When I read that Melton's favorites were hired as sub-contractors I saw the mob tactics then.
Like anyone's gonna stop him? Heh.