JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A special hearing was held on Monday, April 17 in the case between the Jackson City Council and Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba over garbage collection in the city.
The City of Jackson has been without a garbage contract since April 1, 2023. As of Monday, April 17, the City Council has not agreed to a new contract with a garbage collection company.
Special Judge H. David Clark described Monday’s hearing as a great example of failure of leadership.
Judge Clark said he would discuss the legal issues of the case with the attorneys for both sides on Monday afternoon. He said the court would recess until Tuesday, April 18 at 9:00 a.m. subject to what transpires Monday afternoon.
“The judge is trying to reach a resolution. He’s trying to resolve so the garbage can be picked up, so that’s what he’s working on. And we gave him some input when we were visiting with him for about 15 minutes, and now he’s going to get some input from the mayor, and hopefully, he’s acting as a, I guess, a mediator,” said City Council President Ashby Foote, Ward 1.
The City Council requested to bypass the mayor after they said he repeatedly failed to bring forth a proposal from any other vendors besides Richard’s Disposal.
Lumumba said Richard’s Disposal had the lowest bid. The mayor previously said the city can’t handle the financial obligations that the other companies are requiring. The other companies that were being considered are Waste Management and FCC.
In early March, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld a ruling of a lower court that sided with the Jackson City Council in the garbage contract case.
According to the ruling by the Supreme Court, Lumumba was not legally entitled to veto a non-action or negative vote of the City Council. They affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
In July 2022, Retired Court of Appeals Judge Larry E. Roberts, who was appointed as the special judge in the case, sided with the Jackson City Council.
Roberts said the mayor does not have the power to veto an “inaction” by the city council. In April 2022, the city council voted 4-3 against the approval of the emergency contract for Richard’s Disposal.
Mayor Lumumba exercised his veto power after that decision, but council members claimed the mayor did not have veto power to override their decision.