It’s been a few weeks now since we published a story on the city’s switch away from Clear Water Solutions to Manchac Consulting Group, Inc. to provide similar services.
I heard of the change from various sources around town and was truly impressed by the ability of the Manchac Consulting Group to pull off the move they made.
The city hired the Manchac folks to analyze and review the city’s contract with Clear Water and paid them $57,000 of our money to do so.
Their recommendation was simple and, frankly, brazen: Fire Clear Water and hire us.
The city agreed to do just that.
While the city stands to save about $120,000 in the difference in monthly cost between Clear Water and Manchac, they burned up about half that amount paying Manchac to review the contract.
Not to mention Manchac was hired to consult and not kick the competition to the curb. (Their salesman must be fantastic.)
The city’s current contract with Manchac is for one year. The amount of money we pay Manchac is about $20,000 per month.
That’s $240,000 on top of the $57,000 already paid for consulting.
For $297,000 we’ve hired another firm to run our city operations.
These expenditures show the city is shy about spending our money to try to find a resolution to the services citizens complain about the most — that’s a good thing.
But they are going about it all the wrong way.
It’s time we take a different tack in how our city is managed.
(And please Errick, don’t take this the wrong way.)
It’s time we took the day-to-day management of the city affairs away from the mayor (not this mayor, but all future Greenville mayors) and put it in the hands of a paid professional.
Our mayor, Errick Simmons, has done a fine job in my opinion in his stint in the office. He’s probably learned more about sewers and drainage than he ever thought he would. He’s spent more time dealing with lift stations and macerating pumps than he could imagine.
Instead of working to develop plans to fix our sewage system, the mayor and council should be voting on a recommendation made by a person they hired and see every day.
We need a city manager who lives in Greenville and has to live with same problems we do. We don’t need a consulting group who can take home $297,000 by the end of their contract and don’t have to live with either the remedies or the problems they’ve created.
Our mayor and council members are invested in this community and their willingness to look for solutions shows, but they are elected officials and not professional city managers.
What we need is an engineer with a business-minded background to step into the role needed to guide the day-to-day operations of the city.
These people exist and would be willing to take on the management of one of the state’s larger cities for what appears to be a considerable amount of money at the city’s disposal for such operations.
While we live with the contract with Manchac for the next 12 months, we should have an eye to creating a position within the city to manage the operations as they work to train the department heads.
And we should be picking the brain of their salesperson who was able to convince the city to give them money to fire their competition and hire them instead.
Doesn’t it usually work the other way? A company would spend money entertaining and wooing a perspective client.
In this case, the client paid them and they still got the job.
Angel Alert goes out to the people who jumped in power trucks and rushed to the areas hit by storms in Mississippi in this last week. Happy Birthday to Canon Alverson who is turning eight-years-old today and hasn’t stopped reminding us about it for the last two weeks. Send birthdays or alerts to the contact information below.
Jon Alverson is proud to be publisher and editor of the Delta Democrat-Times. Write to him at email@example.com call him at 335-1155.