Public contract abuse is not limited to the city of Jackson. Mississippi’s former Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps should learn this week if he’s headed to federal prison after accepting millions in bribes.
These are not isolated examples but rather the tip of the iceberg, confirming a recent nationwide study showing Mississippi to be the most corrupt state in the nation.
Ultimately, the state Legislature is to blame for allowing Mississippi to have the worst public procurement laws in the nation. State agencies have limited regulation but other governmental entities such as cities and counties have no oversight whatsoever. Our weak procurement laws are scattered throughout dozens of different statutes, each with varying standards and enforced by numerous fragmented agencies. It is a recipe for corruption.
Here’s what needs to be done to clean up our state: