City turns attention to job performance in solid waste dept.

Published 6:00 am Thursday, January 9, 2003

A three-member panel of Brookhaven aldermen is once again takinga look at the city’s struggling solid waste operations, this timein an effort to improve job performance among employees.

Following an executive session Wednesday to discuss solid wastepersonnel, the full board elected to have a standing subcommitteereview the situation and make suggestions. City officials said thepanel would look at better use and deployment of human resources intrying to improve job performance.

“They’re going to report back to us before the next meeting,”said Mayor Bill Godbold.

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Subcommittee members did not discuss what recommendations may bepart of their report.

“Whatever we come up with will be included in it,” said Ward 5Alderman Tom Smith.

Ward 4 Alderman Bob Massengill also did not want to speculate onpossibilities before the subcommittee had a chance to meet.Massengill, Smith and fellow panel member Ward 6 Alderman John E.”Buddy” Allen met briefly after Wednesday’s special meeting, whichlasted about an hour.

“We’ll hopefully come up with a plan and take it to the board,”Massengill said.

Wednesday’s executive session included Sanitation DepartmentSuperintendent James “Peanut” Arnold and assistant Willie Smith.The board met separately with a solid waste employee, although theissue was not directly related to addressing the overall solidwaste concerns.

Outside the board room, Arnold said he believes the answer isadditional manpower and dividing the city into four areas forgarbage pick up. After aldermen voted to cut 10 jobs last year inan effort to make the solid waste budget balance, Arnold nowoversees a staff of 18 employees.

“With about five more men, I believe I could see straight,”Arnold said.

After returning from the closed meeting, Smith made a motion tostop renting sway cars. Sway cars are rented out for debrisdisposal during construction, housing remodeling and other largeclean-up activities.

City officials expressed concerns about how the cars have beenused and the need for them in other service areas, such as ongarbage routes when regular garbage trucks are broken down.However, City Attorney Joe Fernald said Wednesday’s special meetingwas called to address personnel issues only.

“You can’t take action on anything but personnel,” said Fernald,adding that the sway car issue could be raised at the next regularboard meeting.

In December, aldermen approved a solid waste subcommitteerecommendation to discontinue commercial garbage pick up service atthe end of January. The reason for the decision was financiallosses in that area of operations.

Another recommendation approved was to require pine straw, yardclippings and similar items to be bagged and tree limbs put out fordisposal be no longer than three feet. Those regulations, designedto improve trash pick-up efficiency, are to take place at the endof the month.

Arnold stressed that garbage, such as household waste, must notbe mixed in with the yard clippings.

“If we find something with garbage, we’re not going to pick itup,” Arnold said.

Aldermen also discussed the city’s solid waste situation duringTuesday’s regular meeting. Officials said the services do not haveto be profitable but must be self-supporting.

“We’re not out to make money. We’re out to provide the mostservices we can for the money,” Allen said.