JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba continues to flesh out his administration, adding new staffers periodically. Thursday, Mayor Lumumba confirmed his pick for Director of Public Works is Robert Miller. Miller currently serves as Deputy Director of the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board.
“We’re excited to have him,” says Mayor Lumumba. “We should count ourselves blessed.”
For over a year, Jackson has been without a permanent Public Works Director. Mayor Lumumba says Miller will start working in Jackson in October – a decision agreed upon by Mayor Lumumba and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
In the meantime, Miller will remain in New Orleans which has seen major flooding caused by heavy rain and drainage problems made worse because 16 drainage pumps are out of order. 4 out of 5 turbines are also out of service in the Crescent City. The problems have caused the Governor of Louisiana to issue a state of emergency. Mayor Landrieu has asked at least 4 top officials to resign — but not Miller.
“I think there might be some confusion over what Mr. Miller’s responsibility has been over time,” says Mayor Lumumba. “The reason they want to keep Miller is that they want to promote him. They’ve made some adjustments within their staff. Miller is not the culprit who’s been responsible for the issues they’ve suffered from.”
When Jackson City Councilman De’Keither Stamps was asked about Miller, he said he had no idea who Miller was or that he’d be filling a top spot in the administration.
“We’ll wait for the Mayor’s recommendation,” says Stamps. “I don’t think that he’s spoke. He speaks through the minutes, so I haven’t seen that come across the agenda as of yet so when it does we will take it under consideration.”
Jackson has long been plagued with water troubles and old, failing infrastructure. That’s something Miller is sure to be familiar with, given the troubles in New Orleans. “He’s a man of faith, and he believes the Lord has led him to Jackson,” says Mayor Lumumba. “Our prayer is that we show the citizens of Jackson something they’ve never seen before.”
Miller will see a pay cut when he leaves New Orleans for Jackson although Mayor Lumumba would not say what Miller’s salary will be.