Measure to sue Siemens withdrawn

By ANTHONY WARREN,

A proposal to sue the firm responsible for a $91 million overhaul of the city of Jackson’s water system fell flat at the February 19 city council meeting.

The council did not vote on a proposal to hire the Gibbs and Travis Law Firm to bring suit against Siemens USA. 

The measure, which was introduced by Ward Three Councilman Kenneth Stokes, was withdrawn, upon the advice of the city legal department. 

Attorneys said only the administration could bring forward a proposal to enter into a lawsuit. 

Even with the item pulled, the council still wanted more information on the Siemens contract. Ward Four Councilman De’Keither Stamps asked for a memo regarding the savings generated by the work.

It was not known when that memo would be made available.

The city entered into the agreement in 2012, under former Mayor Harvey Johnson. At the time, the contract was sold to residents and council members as being revenue neutral, meaning savings generated from the improvements would pay for the contract costs.

However, as a result of problems associated with the work, the city announced last spring that the water/sewer enterprise fund was in danger of going bankrupt.

The work included replacing some 65,000 water meters, installing a new billing system and replacing some dilapidated infrastructure. The new billing system went into operation in September 2015. 

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