‘Incompetent and unqualified’: Councilman Stokes criticizes Interim Public Works Director Robert Lee

Published: May. 7, 2023 at 10:54 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A Jackson councilman says the man running the city’s Public Works Department is “incompetent” ... and some residents agree.

It comes just months after the same councilman was complaining about the city not having anyone in that position at all.

Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes points to several infrastructure issues in his ward that, he says, have demanded attention for months - and since acting Public Works Director Robert Lee stepped in, little has been done to fix them.

”This is the richest city in the state of Mississippi and they need to stop making excuses why we ain’t fixing things,” Councilman Stokes said.

Take a drive down Bailey Avenue and you’ll find potholes big enough to take out your front tire - as well as street and traffic lights that are out.

“We also have a racing thing going on up and down the street. The light hadn’t stopped it, but the light is down now. So what’s gonna stop it now?” Jackson resident Caroline Dace asked.

Councilman Stokes says certain issues in his ward haven’t been addressed since at least February when Jackson’s mayor appointed Interim Public Works Director Robert Lee.

“Lights have been out at this location for months and months. Stop signs less than a mile south, same situation. Lights out, lights flashing, and those kinds of things,” Stokes said.

“We are citizens here in Jackson, so our money should be the same as the money spent elsewhere,” Dace said.

Even though Lee hasn’t held the position for long, Councilman Stokes claims some projects should have been completed and feels he is “unqualified for the position.”

“In over his head, incompetent in this position, all of the above. And we are ready from Monday when the mayor has more excuses. At the same time, we got to keep saying, ‘Mr. Mayor, we’re sick and tired of being sick and tired of these excuses. Fix something,’” Stokes explained.

Officials with the City of Jackson declined to comment on the councilman’s claims Sunday.

Meanwhile, Ward 3 residents are hoping Lee and the city take action and hire someone to get the job done.

“Stop playing around, get the job done. The money is the same color. It hadn’t changed,” Dace said.

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