Jackson public works director reassigned amid ongoing water crisis

Marlin B. King Jr.
Marlin B. King Jr.(Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration)
Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 9:30 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson’s public works director says he has been reassigned, amid Jackson’s ongoing water crisis.

Marlin King, who was confirmed by the city council about a year ago, said the decision was made after speaking with the mayor.

“He asked me to come in and identify some issues. I’ve identified them and he’s now going to bring in someone who can work through them,” he said.

He said those issues include employee mismanagement, a poor work environment, and vendors going unpaid.

It was not known in what capacity King would remain on. Jordan Hillman, the city’s director of Planning and Development, will head the department in an interim capacity.

The news comes just weeks after WLBT’s investigation into the lack of certified staffing at the city’s water treatment facilities.

“I still have confidence in Mr. King and what I want him to do... I felt that there needed to be a realignment of who people reported to, how communications followed down the chain... And so, that’s the change that happened,” Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said at Tuesday’s press conference.

“It doesn’t mean that I no longer trust Mr. King,” he added. “It doesn’t mean that his skill set as a systems individual is not one that is well needed and beneficial to the overall success of our Public Works Department.”

King said his reassignment was not related to the city’s ongoing water issues.

Monday, the state said it was stepping in to help address problems at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant, which has essentially failed.

“I didn’t actively get involved with the water plants until May,” he said. “You [didn’t] have me involved with conversations with the EPA until Dr. Williams resigned.”

Williams, the former city engineer, retired earlier this year.

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