JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Jackson County supervisors said they're standing by their recent decision to fire the latest jail architect. The Goldberg Group's contract was terminated and all the jail bids tossed out, due to allegations of unauthorized actions supervisors said could have tainted the multimillion dollar project.
Supervisors said they now plan to end the jail saga for good, despite several setbacks.
Troy Ross was one of the four county supervisors who fired the Goldberg Group two weeks ago delaying the jail project.
"This jail saga has been going on for so long now. To put it off for two more months, three months to avoid any appearance of impropriety is well worth it to me," Ross said.
The board has been criticized in the community for terminating two architectural firms in just two years.
"The difference from the last time the architect was fired was we own the plans. We don't have to pay to get those redesigned. That is all we need is an architect who is able to pick up on the plans and continue the process and rebid the project," said Supervisor Ross.
Supervisor Barry Cumbest is also looking forward to moving on from all the jail controversy.
"We still have a lot of paper work from Goldberg. As soon as we get all that back, we will talk with a new architect and get this process moving forward," Supervisor Cumbest said. "If it cost money, it shouldn't cost much more money."
The county borrowed $30 million to replace this aging and sometimes overcrowded jail. Some the bids thrown out were lower than that amount. Supervisor John McKay said it's possible the county could get an even better deal in the end.
"If we hope for anything, hopefully, the bids will come in a little cheaper," McKay said.
If everything goes according to plan, supervisors hope to finally turn dirt on a new jail before the end of the year, and finally bring the jail controversy to an end.
"We don't look for any big bumps in the road and anything to cause us to knock it off," said McKay.
"A jail will be built," said Cumbest.
Supervisors said their target date to complete the jail project is early 2015.