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Mayor vetoes city’s switch on garbage

Mayor Bill Godbold has vetoed a board of aldermen decision toprivatize residential garbage collection services.

Following an executive session at their Jan. 20 meeting,aldermen voted unanimously to award a private garbage pick upcontract to Waste Management and to maintain city-run trashcollection services. The contract was scheduled to take effectMarch 1.

In a letter to aldermen, dated Jan. 23, Godbold informed them hewas against the action.

However, he was unable to veto the vote until minutes from theJan. 20 meeting were prepared. A revised letter vetoing the actionarrived Friday along with board members’ copies of Tuesday’smeeting agenda.

“This is to let you know that I disagree with your vote awardingthe bid of letting Waste Management pick of the City of Brookhavengarbage,” the letter said. “I am not in favor of this and I vetothis action.”

Godbold did not return a telephone call Friday seekingadditional comment on his reasons for the veto.

Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron said he was surprised anddisappointed to the see mayor veto the action. Cameron was thealderman who made the motion to change services.

“It was a solid vote by the board,” Cameron said. “We all werein favor of it.”

Cameron said he was pleased the board was able to agree on acourse of action. In discussing solid waste pick up options, it wasCameron’s version that was adopted by the board.

“We had a hard decision to make, and we made it,” Cameronsaid.

Alderman-at-large Les Bumgarner, who seconded Cameron’s motion,said it was the mayor’s prerogative to veto a board action.However, he said the veto puts the garbage issue “back on thetable.”

“I’ll be interested to hear what his solution to the garbageproblem is, then,” Bumgarner said.

The veto is on the agenda to be spread on the minutes atTuesday’s board meeting.

Bumgarner said he had not had any contact with other boardmembers about the possibility of an override. A two-thirds vote ofthe board is needed to override the veto.

Normally, that would require five votes on the seven-memberboard. However, due to a vacancy in Ward Three, City Attorney JoeFernald was checking to see what would be necessary for anoverride.

Cameron said he would not be changing his vote regardingprivatization.

“If the rest of them (aldermen) don’t change that, we’ll votethe same,” Cameron said.

Ward Five Alderman Tom Smith said he thought the garbage pick upissue had been settled and was in accordance with the mayor’swishes. He was taking a “wait and see” approach regarding anoverride.

“I don’t look for them to change their minds,” Smith said.