Street superintendent Danny Miller faced harsh questioning from city leaders this week surrounding the street department’s street sign replacement project.
It is a project that has been months in the making. Despite recent action from work crews, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen showed their concern and frustration over a “misunderstanding” with Miller on the project.
Mayor Diane Delaware, holding up a packet of photographs, said the street sign package presented to the board by Miller doesn’t match what he ordered and began installing.
“The pictures you gave us and the signs you ordered were not the same,” she said. “This is a great concern to us.”
Delaware said Miller also failed to order new stop signs, no parking signs and other traffic posts, adding that he only ordered street name signs.
“I am guilty of all of the above,” Miller said. “I don’t have a report today as far as the matter with the signs with the pictures. I made a total mistake...I take total responsibility for that.”
Miller said he and his assistant Robert Lewis will coordinate together to rectify the issues.
Delaware said on Oct. 9, 2015, the city council received a report from Miller on the signs, their quantity and the cost that would be ordered and installed by the street department.
“How could that have been confusing,” she asked Miller.
Miller continued to say he must have been “confused,” and there was a “misunderstanding.”
“I didn’t listen well,” Miller said. “I just ordered street signs.”
Miller said about 118 street name signs were ordered. As of Monday, 109 have been installed around the city.
“You must have put them in areas that I don’t travel,” said Aldermen Dr. Jack Varner, adding that he hasn’t seen them.
Delaware asked Miller how many streets were in Yazoo City. Miller could not provide an accurate number.
“About 350,” he replied.
There are actually about 260 streets within the city.
Delaware said she was concerned that Miller did not know how many streets were in Yazoo City, considering he has worked in the department for over 20 years.
“You have a job, a responsibility,” she said. “You are the street department manager. That is basic information to know. If you don’t know that number, I am very concerned.”
The Yazoo City Fire Department also assisted with installing some of the street name signs.
“Why were y’all putting them up,” Varner asked, adding that it was the street department’s responsibility.
Delaware said the fire department volunteered to erect some signs to ensure they could quickly find certain streets in emergency situations.
Varner said he doesn’t understand why a simple project couldn’t be correctly accomplished.
“We have been talking about this for two years now,” Varner said. “And it is not just the street signs. It’s the poles...they are bent, leaning. It doesn’t take a lot to jump out of a truck and straighten a sign up or get your work crew on it.”
Varner said the project has not seen any “decent results.”
Delaware said Miller could ride through the city and plainly see stop signs that need to be replaced. She is baffled as to why signs haven’t been replaced over the years.
“We have white stop signs,” Delaware said. “How long does it take for a red stop sign to turn white? How did that happen? Street signs don’t move. I’m beside myself.”
Alderman Gregory Robertson told Miller that the “buck stops with him.”
Delaware instructed Miller to bring a list of every sign that must be replaced, its total cost of replacement and the plan to have them replaced by the next board meeting.
“And make sure you understand what is being asked of you,” added Robertson.
Lewis, assistant street superintendent, said he can’t let Miller take all the blame.
“I’m partly to blame too,” Lewis said. “But give us another chance to go out and do it over.”