Supervisors fire jail architect, throw out construction bids

A statement from the Jackson Co. Board of Supervisors said the decision was made to maintain the public trust.
A statement from the Jackson Co. Board of Supervisors said the decision was made to maintain the public trust.

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Supervisors are being tight lipped about their latest decisions regarding the Jackson County Jail project. But in a statement released Monday, board members say the decisions were made to maintain the public trust.

After opening the construction bids on the facility, allegations came to light questioning the integrity and openness of the bid process.

"The board feels the allegations rose to such a level, when taken together with other difficulties it experienced with the service of the architect, that it could no longer go forward allowing the Goldberg Group to render professional services," the statement read.

"In an abundance of fairness and caution, we wanted to do that," Board President Mike Mangum said. "The board voted four to one to reject all bids on the jail and to also, in another resolution we voted to terminate our architect, Goldberg."

This is the second architect firm fired by supervisors. Last August, Goldberg Group, out of Missouri, was hired after another company was paid more than $1 million to draw up plans for the jail. Goldberg presented plans to supervisors in November.

"The design is done and we own all the papers and things," Mangum explained. "So we are going to be gathering that information and as soon as it is humanly possible, we will be going out to bid again on the same design."

According to the county administrator, the contract with Goldberg Group was for $1,935,000. For the work completed, the firm will receive around $1,385,000.

The board of supervisors will begin looking for another firm in ten days.

"We are going to be looking for someone to administer the project," Mangum said. "It will be someone with architect capabilities, but they are not going to have to redesign the project."

Mangum said this decision will not cost tax payers any more than planned.

"No additional dollars, we can foresee, is going to be spent in addition to what we thought we would spend to start with. We will be going back out for bid in the same design and it shouldn't take very long to do that," Mangum said.

Mangum expects construction will still begin sometime this summer

District 2 Supervisor Melton Harris is the only board member who opposed the decision to fire the architect and start over with bids. WLOX News reached out to him and he said he strongly opposes these two decisions, but can't say anything else at this time.

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