Board quizzes garbage firm on problems

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Following a rash of recent personnel and equipment problems,Waste Management officials pledged Tuesday to get garbage pickupservices in Brookhaven back to a consistent level as soon aspossible.

At their last meeting, aldermen voiced concerns about missedstreets and late and sloppy service. They requested a meeting withcompany officials.

Jim Funderburg, district manager for Waste Management, said theservice has had “significant” personnel and equipment problems inrecent weeks. He said the service is two employees short and othershave had to be away from work to deal with family matters.

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“We’re having a lot of problems with labor issues, but we’re ontop of it,” Funderburg said, adding that new employees are beingsought and a new truck for Brookhaven is scheduled to arrive inMarch.

Aldermen voted last year to privatize garbage services.Funderburg said there were some initial difficulties while crewslearned routes but the service had become consistent until therecent problems.

Ward Six Alderman John E. “Buddy” Allen was most vocal aboutgarbage problems. Mentioning a problem at his home on VivianMerritt Street, Allen said a truck crew was leaving his garbage canpartially in the street after pick up.

“I don’t care if they set it up or not, just put it back in myyard,” Allen said.

Allen also was not pleased with the tone of a Waste Managementreceptionist when he called to relay constituents’ concerns aboutgarbage service.

“Realize, we’re going to vote on the contract, the ones sittingaround this table,” Allen said.

Funderburg said that specific situation would be addressedquickly and other recent problems are in the process of beingcorrected.

“It will be very soon, and we’ll get back (to being)consistent,” he said.

Alluding to late or inconsistent collection times, Ward TwoAlderman Terry Bates said citizens are used to having their garbagepicked up at a certain time. Other aldermen mentioned garbage cansnot being fully emptied or trash falling out on the ground.

“That definitely should not be happening,” said Trevor Ash,Waste Management site manager for Brookhaven.

Funderburg said he had heard enough Brookhaven-specificcomplaints about activities that are inconsistent with WasteManagement policies. He said new employees would be coming in Marchalong with the new truck.

“Obviously, there are consistent problems in all the wards, andwe’re going to fix it,” Funderburg said.