City manager Maltez threatens to cancel contract for new waste hauler | While reading

READING – Furious city manager Fidel Maltez yesterday threatened to cancel Republic Services’ waste hauling contract if the supplier did not significantly improve its performance by the end of this week.

Criticizing the third-party provider for its “incomplete, sporadic and unpredictable waste and recycling services”, the city’s normally laid-back CEO made it clear that he had completely lost patience with the Arizona-based waste disposal company.

“I am proud of how our municipal staff have stepped up to meet the needs of residents throughout this ordeal,” Maltez said in a prepared statement released Monday evening. “We will continue to press for satisfaction and relief under the terms of the contract, or we will find a new contractor who can meet the sanitation needs of the community.”

Maltez issued the ultimatum as Republic Services, which has just taken on Reading’s curbside waste collection contract, is now said to have missed hundreds of household stops along its routes over the past three weeks .

In the latest response to the crisis, which has seen thousands of complaints lodged at City Hall by frustrated residents, the Reading Department of Public Works (DPW) was mobilized on Monday to take over some of the private contractor’s duties.

Maltez, who joined DPW crews yesterday morning as they used the city’s fleet of heavy construction vehicles to empty overflowing waste barrels, also plans to use another third-party waste hauler to help.

“As of Monday, October 17, the city has hired Boston Carting to bring in additional dumpsters and trucks [and] deployed DPW personnel…to conduct collection operations with a plan to catch up to all collections by the end of the week,” city officials explained yesterday.

Last Saturday alone, more than 200 townspeople used Reading’s ‘SeeClickFix’ software to complain that Republic Services was not present after promising to return to the community over the weekend to make up for pickups waste and recycling missed on Thursday and Friday.

According to city officials, since Maltez was first alerted to the ongoing supplier issues on Oct. 3, the city has received thousands of calls from outraged citizens. Since then, city hall officials have reportedly spoken at least twice a day with Republic’s management team in a bid to address performance issues, which have been blamed on labor shortages and labor issues. ‘equipment.

“While Republic Services has repeatedly promised to fix performance shortcomings, the company has continually underperformed with incomplete pickups, understaffed operations, failure to send promised resources, etc., which has resulted in many neighborhoods up to three weeks without garbage collection or recycling,” city officials lamented in the latest advisory to residents yesterday.

The city manager threatened to hire additional outside contractors at Republic Services’ expense if the waste hauler continued to prove unable to meet its contractual commitments. The Select Board, whose members are believed to be behind Maltez’s attempts to hold the Arizona-based company accountable, agrees “all operational and legal avenues” should be explored to resolve the crisis.

“The city has further informed Republic that it will terminate the contract if all issues are not resolved by the end of this week. The city continues to work with legal counsel to explore all options to recover damages. -interest as needed,” local leaders promised yesterday.

A nationwide company that serves more than 13 million customers and reported revenue of $11 billion in 2021, Republic Services Inc. inherited Reading’s waste collection and recycling service from JRM Hauling, based in Peabody.

JRM, which was in the middle of a 10-year contract with Reading when it was bought by Republic Services last May, has since been closed.

Reading isn’t the only community facing problems since Republic Services officially began serving former JRM municipal service customers.

Earlier this month, Lawrence Mayor Brian DePena issued his own ultimatum to business leaders after haulage crews missed hundreds of household trash and recycling pickups during the month of September . Plaistow, NH officials also recently called out the provider for inconsistent and unreliable service.

According to city budget documents, Reading set aside about $1.975 million for waste disposal services in FY23. About $1.25 million of this total planned spending is for the program street trash and recycling currently provided by Republic Services, while an additional $80,000 has been budgeted for special recycling events like Hazardous Materials Collection Days.

The remainder of Reading’s annual waste budget — approximately $635,000 for FY23 — covers dumping fees, or costs associated with dumping weekly trash pickups at the incinerator.

About Jefferey G. Cannon

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