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Topic: The never ending Rizzo Trash deal
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El Supremo

Future of Flint's waste collection services unclear as contract nears end

Jiquanda Johnson | jjohns16@mlive.com By Jiquanda Johnson | jjohns16@mlive.com
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on June 28, 2016 at 12:42 AM, updated June 28, 2016 at 1:38 AM

FLINT, MI Flint City Council voted against hiring a new trash collection company potentially leaving the city in limbo as the end date for their current contract nears.

Rizzo Environmental Services 001
Joseph Munem, Director of Government Affairs at Rizzo Environmental Services, center, speaks alongside his colleagues during the Flint City Council meeting on Monday, June 27, 2016 at the Flint City Council building in Flint. Rachel Woolf | MLive.com
Rachel Woolf | MLive.com

Council voted 5 -3 in a June 27 City Council meeting against a recommendation from Mayor Karen Weaver's office to hire Rizzo Environmental Services to collect waste and recyclables for a more than $17-million contract.

The decision was made with no promises from the city's current company, Republic, to extend their services past the Thursday, June 30 contract expiration date.

As of midnight on Thursday, Flint will not have a waste collection company contracted to haul the city's garbage if the council does not vote on Weaver's recommendation.

Joseph Munem, Rizzo's director of governmental affairs, said the city is obligated to hire their company based on the Flint's charter.

"Clearly the Mayor recommended us based upon the ordinance of the city that states the lowest and responsible bidder shall, meaning there's no options, shall get the contract," Munem said. "We are the lowest responsible bidder."

Officials say they need more time to discuss the details of the proposed $17,418,644 contract that would span over five years for the company to collect the city's trash. Rizzo's bid came in $2 million lower than Republic.

Councilwoman Kate Fields said she didn't receive information regarding Rizzo until sometime Monday which didn't give the council time to research the issue.

"This is a lot of money to have to make a decision without having all of the information," Fields said. "We just received this information today. We are talking about the city committing to a $17-million contract."

Some council members said they were concerned about the city not having a trash collection service.

"If we don't move on this now it might be too late," said Councilman Eric Mays. "This actually needs to be dealt with when the RTAB meets on Wednesday or we are still going to have garbage collection issues."

The city is still under a state appointed Receivership Transition Advisory Board which has to approve financial decisions before the city can officially move forward.

Mays said he called Rizzo's references around 3:30 p.m. before Monday night's committee of the whole meeting which is held at 4:30 p.m. before the council's 6 p.m. regular meeting.

Republic's bid was $19,518,436.08 and a third company, Emterra came in at $18,492,800.04.

The issue took up nearly four hours of Monday night's city council meeting including public comment.

"This is a process that is so serious," said Councilman Herbert Winfrey. "I want the best service by whoever is going to provide it. At the cheapest cost long term that I can get for the citizens of the sixth ward."

Winfrey along with Mays and Monica Galloway voted in favor of the Mayor's recommendation.

Last edited by untanglingwebs on Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:49 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Tue Jun 28, 2016 5:42 pm 
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El Supremo

Doesn't Jackie Poplar realize that she is advocating cronyism when she supports a more expensive company because she has a contact she can call "day or night"?

Doesn't Nelson realize he alone cannot grant Republic a 30 day extension? Needs to go through council. Special meeting perhaps, but the state financial board meets tomorrow.

Yes, some local former Flint trash workers were hired by Republic. If the purchasing policy has not been changed then local companies were given points in the evaluation process. Rizzo's spokesperson is right about the contract supposedly to be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. Minority contractors have complained about failures to honor that provision.

Allegations are flying in multiple directions, as they usually do. If any are true, there should be some proof somewhere.
Post Tue Jun 28, 2016 5:59 pm 
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El Supremo

Flint City Council asks Republic Waste Management to extend contract with city

Updated: Tue 3:32 PM, Jun 28, 2016
By: ABC12 News Team Email

Nelson says a 30 day extension is possible according to the contract, but the mayor

FLINT (WJRT) (06/28/16) - UPDATE: Flint's city council president, Kerry Nelson, tells ABC12 News the council has asked for Republic to extend their contract with the city for 30 days.

Nelson says a 30 day extension is possible according to the contract, but the mayor's office hasn't approved it yet.


(06/27/16) - After five hours of deliberating, Flint City Council struck down a motion to award a $17.5 million contract to a trash collection company. Monday night.

Three companies submitted bids to the city for trash pickup this Spring. The current contract with Republic Waste Management is up this Friday.

Republic and Rizzo Environmental Services were the two front runners following interviews with Mayor Karen Weaver's team. Rizzo's bid proposal came in $2 million dollars less.

Weaver asked council to approve the $17.5 million, 5-year contract with Rizzo. But council did not make that happen. After discussing the qualifications of both companies, council voted down the Mayor's request to give it to Rizzo.

It is possible that council will call a special meeting to take up the issue before the current contract with Republic that is up Friday.

One other issue tabled until a later date at Monday's council meeting, is a request from Weaver for council to approve an additional fee for pipe replacements.

For the last month, Weaver has been asking council to approve an additional $70 pre inspection and $70 post inspection fee at homes that are getting new pipes under her Fast Start Pipe Replacement Plan.

Council has been hesitant to approve additional funding that would come from the city's budget.

Weaver says if council doesn't approve the request, that money will have to come from somewhere. It could mean tapping into the $2 million in state money allotted for pipe replacements. Weaver says that means possibly replacing less pipes with that money to offset the inspection fee.
Post Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:04 pm 
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El Supremo

Teamsters Hold Teach-In On Republic Services Landfill


Community Calls for Republic Services, its Owners Bill and Melinda Gates and EPA to Protect Residents and Workers Health and Safety
Galen Munroe
Email: gmunroe@teamster.org
Phone: (202) 624-6911
(ST. LOUIS, MO) On Saturday, Teamsters gathered with St. Louis-area residents, union members, elected officials, faith leaders, environmental experts and attorneys about Republic Services [NYSE: RSG] West Lake Landfill. West Lake is a Superfund site in Bridgeton, Mo. that contains 8,700 tons of buried uncontained radioactive nuclear wastes adjacent to an underground landfill fire.
Saturdays teach-in spread awareness of the environmental catastrophe at West Lake and kicked off discussions of how to best keep area residents safe.
The coalition called on Republic Services Inc., its owners, Bill and Melinda Gates, elected officials and the Environmental Protection Agency to protect the health and safety of the surrounding community.

Republic Services has the legal, moral and financial responsibility to keep workers and communities safe from its toxic landfills, said Chuck Stiles, Assistant Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling & Related Industries Division to the attendees at the teach-in. If you cant remove the radioactive waste, then you must pay to move people away from it. If workers could be exposed, then you must pay to properly equip them, train them, and compensate them for the hazardous work they are doing.

Teamsters are part of this community. More than 1,600 Teamster families live in the toxic shadow of the Bridgeton landfill and hundreds work nearby, said Marvin Kropp, President of Joint Council 13 during his remarks This has to be taken care of. Too much time has been wasted. Too little attention has been paid to those who have to live side by side or downwind from it.

The teach-in was also addressed by Lois Gibbs, founder of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. Ms. Gibbs led the community fight at Love Canal, New York in the 1970s, in which a landfill containing toxic contaminants polluted an entire neighborhood. The U.S. government was forced to relocate hundreds of families to ensure their safety.

West Lake Landfill is this generations Love Canal. In Love Canal, we were told that the thousands of tons of toxic chemicals were not causing any of our health problems, Gibbs said. Does this sound familiar? In Love Canal we were told that putting a covering over the top of dump would protect us. Does this sound familiar? When I see corporations like Republic downplaying risks to residents in order to save themselves some money and some trouble, I see history repeating itself. You and your allies in this room will have to keep organizing and agitating until you and your families have been moved out of harms way.
According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the landfill fire continues to move towards the radioactive wastes. Meanwhile, a study by the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services found that cancer rates are significantly above normal in the zip codes near the landfill.
Republics endangerment of communities is not limited to Bridgeton, Missouri, said Robert Morales, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling & Related Industries Division. At Republics landfills in Ohio, California, South Carolina, Vermont and other states, communities have been exposed to landfill fires, years of noxious odors and environmental violations for which Republic has been fined and sued for millions of dollars.

Neither does Republic care about its workers. This company has locked out its workers and forced strikes that have led to major trash pickup disruptions across the United States. Republic consistently tries to take affordable health care and retirement security away from the frontline sanitation workers who risk their lives every day to protect the public health.
Sanitation work is the fifth-most dangerous job in America. Recently, Teamsters who work at Republic Services in Mobile, Ala. held a Just Practicing picket to protest Republics plans to enact an unaffordable health insurance plan.
In 2012, Republic Teamsters in Mobile were forced to go on strike when the company reneged on an agreement that provided modest improvements to workers health care benefits. Striking workers and community allies extended picket lines that were honored by fellow Republic workers in six other U.S. cities.
Last year, the driver that Republic named its Driver of the Year in Brewton, Ala. was hospitalized and required months of kidney dialysis. Republic held back his disability checks and did not pay many of his medical bills.

Bill Gates is the largest owner of Republic Services stock and has been actively buying more stock for months. If he were truly serious about improving health, he would forego his dividend from Republic for the next four quarters, Morales said. His net worth is more than $70 billion surely he can use some dividends to create a St. Louis Relocation, Health Registry and Remediation Fund. And he should pressure Republic to do the same.

An online petition to Gates, asking him to relocate families and clean up the landfill, has gathered more than one thousand signatures and continues to grow.
Republic Services/Allied Waste is Americas second largest solid waste and recycling company. The company has an estimated $14 million earmarked for the estate of CEO Donald Slager should he die or become disabled during employment.
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates owns 29 percent of the companys shares through Cascade Investment, LLC about $4 billion worth. This includes 16 million shares (worth $645 million) purchased in 2014 alone. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also owns 1.35 million shares of Republic stock. Michael Larson, chief investment officer at Cascade Investment and investment manager for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been a Republic Services board director since 2009.
When Republic pays a $0.28/share quarterly dividend in October 2014, Bill Gates and his Foundation will receive $27.6 million.

The Teamsters represent approximately 9,000 employees at Republic Services and its subsidiaries at more than 150 facilities throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada.

For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/RepublicServicesTeamsters and follow us on Twitter @RepubTeamsters.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters.
Post Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:44 am 
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El Supremo

Teamsters, St. Louis Residents Cite Republic Services Radioactive Landfill in Complaint to United Nations
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Formal Complaint Delivered to Special U.N. Rapporteur for Human Rights and the Environment
Kara Deniz
Email: kdeniz@teamster.org
Phone: (202) 624-6911
(NEW YORK) Yesterday, Teamsters with the Solid Waste and Recycling Division, Saint Louis residents Dawn Chapman and Karen Nickel, founders of JustMoms STL and Center for Health Environment and Justice founder Lois Gibbs lodged a formal human rights complaint with the United Nations Rapporteur for Human Rights and the Environment.
The coalition has been corresponding with the U.N. Rapporteur regarding the effects of the ongoing West Lake Bridgeton landfill environmental crisis in Missouri, its impact on surrounding communities and the need for corporate accountability and government action.
An underground fire has been raging for five years at the West Lake complex, which contains thousands of tons of illegally-dumped radioactive nuclear wastes in an unlined landfill. The subsurface fire is moving closer to the nuclear waste and is releasing toxic chemicals that residents and workers can smell for miles. The landfill complex is owned by the second-largest landfill company in the United States, Republic Services [NYSE: RSG], itself controlled by one of the worlds richest men, Bill Gates.
In December 2015, more than 18 witnesses testified to a jury composed of leading civic and religious figures in Saint Louis. Witnesses detailed their many health problems, including deaths among family, friends and neighbors; asthma and other respiratory ailments; sharp drops in home values; and the inability to enjoy the outdoors and their homes.
Teamster members and other union workers from the warehouse sector and other businesses surrounding the landfill also testified at the tribunal.
Workers and residents need real protection and respect, and Bill Gates and Republic Services need to step up to the plate and put real resources to resolving this untenable situation, instead of evading accountability, said Chuck Stiles, Assistant Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste and Recycling Division.
Only a few days ago, on April 28, we commemorated Workers Memorial Day, for all those who die or get hurt in the workplace, Stiles said. Workplaces should not be a threat to workers, nor the workers and families living around them.
The other members of the delegation, including Karen Nickel and Dawn Chapman, who live in proximity to the landfill, pointed out how the radioactive material has been dumped illegally and left unmanaged for over 40 years, while the fire, which has been burning for five years, is expected to burn for many more, leaving families and neighbors trapped with no end in sight.
They are reaching out to the United Nations Human Rights Commission because they feel that their fundamental human rights to clean air, water and health are being violated, and fear they have no redress.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.
Post Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:51 am 
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El Supremo

Doesn't anyone remember when the media skewered Stanley for consulting with Walling in one of Walling's elections. He has had this business for a number of years.(like many former politicians) None of the council has stated they were contacted by Stanley on behalf of Rizzo Services.


Questions raised over ex-mayor's role in Flint garbage contract

MLive.com (Rachel Woolf | MLive.com)
Jiquanda Johnson | jjohns16@mlive.com By Jiquanda Johnson | jjohns16@mlive.com

on June 30, 2016 at 6:00 AM, updated June 30, 2016 at 6:05 AM

FLINT, MI City council members are raising questions over ex-Flint mayor Woodrow Stanley's role with a trash hauling company seeking a $17-million contract with the city.

The council voted 5-3 on Monday against Flint Mayor Karen Weaver's recommendation to award the 5-year contract to Rizzo Environmental Services, despite the fact the company's bid was $2 million lower than the city's current contract with a different firm.

"Things are questionable," said Councilwoman Kate Fields. "There is speculation but what can you do?"

A representative for Rizzo said Wednesday that Stanley is working with Rizzo but did not draft the proposal for the city's trash contract.

"Woodrow Stanley had nothing to do with the proposal that was submitted to the city," said Joseph Munem, who serves as director of governmental affairs for Rizzo. "This was a sealed bid. No one knew what anyone's bid were until (Flint officials) opened them on May 12."

Munem said Stanley works as a consultant but said there is no guarantee Stanley would continue his work if the company gets the Flint contract.

"There is no agreement whatsoever for ongoing work," said Munem. "This issue is a distraction by members of the council wanting to ignore the fact that we are the lowest responsible bidder which under the city's ordinance we must get the contract. There is no option. It says if you are the lowest and responsible bidder you shall get the contract."

Stanley, who was ousted as Flint mayor in 2002, could not be reached for comment.

Council President Kerry Nelson said he received a number of phone calls regarding the company's ties to Stanley and the city's bidding process.

"Certainly the appearance of things does not look good," Nelson said. "My first responsibility is to protect the residents of Flint. The council needs more information before we can move forward on this. I'm not saying anything is wrong but we need to do more research."

Rizzo came in $2 million lower than Flint's current trash collector Republic.

Republic's bid was $19,518,436.08 and a third company, Emterra came in at $18,492,800.04.

"The integrity of the city's bidding process is in question here," Nelson said. "We are working with the attorney to make sure there were no violations."

The Republic contract was set to expire at midnight Wednesday but the city has extended the contract for 30 days.

"We didn't get the information on Rizzo until Monday," said Nelson. "I don't know anything about this company. We have to do more research before we make a decision for the residents of Flint."

Rizzo contributed at least $500 to Mayor Karen Weaver's campaign in 2015. Munem said the company also contributed to Dayne Walling's campaign.

City of Flint's spokeswoman Kristin Moore said Weaver is not affiliated with Rizzo and she only recently became aware of the company's donation to her campaign.

Moore said that the Weaver was not aware of any "consulting contract" between Rizzo and Stanley and that she and the ex-mayor attend church together.

Stanley served in politics for more than 30 years where he served on the Flint City Council and as mayor and later as a state representative until 2014.

Last edited by untanglingwebs on Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:21 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Fri Jul 01, 2016 10:34 am 
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El Supremo


Republic Services to Pay Nearly $3 Million for Firing Older Workers Because of Age
Solid Waste Company Discriminated Against 21 Over-40 Employees, EEOC Charged

LAS VEGAS Republic Services, Inc. and its subsidiary Republic Silver State Disposal, Inc., will pay $2,975,000 and provide other relief to a class of older workers, settling an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC, Phoenix-based Republic terminated and denied job transfer opportunities to about 21 employees over the age of 40 at its facilities in southern Nevada between 2003 and 2005 because of their age. The list of terminated employees includes garbage collectors, drivers, and supervisors, some of whom were employed by the company for more than 25 years. The EEOC contends that those jobs were then offered to younger employees who were subsequently held to lower performance standards. The EEOC further charged that Republic engaged in a form of hazing called break him off, in which some employees were worked to the point of exhaustion, often making it difficult for them to do their jobs.

The EEOC originally filed suit against Republic in 2004 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada (U.S. EEOC v. Republic Services, Inc., et al., CV04-1352-DAE (LRL) consolidated with Robert LaRocca and William Lacy v. Republic Services, Inc. et al., CV 04-1479-DAE (LRL), arguing that the alleged conduct was a direct violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).

No one should be harassed at work or forced out of a job for discriminatory reasons, said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. The law clearly prohibits mistreatment or dismissal of older workers on account of their age, and no workplace should lose productive and valuable employees because of illegal age stereotyping.

Our hope is that other employers implement practices to ensure that age stereotyping does not occur in any facet of employment, said P. David Lopez, General Counsel of the EEOC. As illustrated by this settlement, the EEOC will insist on substantial and meaningful relief for victims of illegal age discrimination.

Aside from the monetary relief, the parties entered into a three-year consent decree requiring Republic to:

Designate a corporate equal employment opportunity compliance officer;
Conduct an audit of its employment policies and procedures;
Provide annual anti-discrimination training to its employees;
Closely track any future discrimination complaints to conform to its obligations under the ADEA; and
Provide annual reports to the EEOC regarding its employment practices.
We appreciate the great efforts that Republic has made and will continue to make to ensure that age is not a factor in the workplace, said Anna Park, Regional Attorney for the EEOCs Los Angeles District Office whose jurisdiction includes Nevada. Although employers may assume that younger employees are more efficient and less costly, this is simply not true.

According to its website, www.republicservices.com, Republic employs approximately 31,000 employees and is a leading provider in the solid waste industry offering waste collection services for commercial, industrial, municipal, and residential customers through more than 375 collection companies in 42 states and Puerto Rico, 223 transfer stations, 192 solid waste landfills and 78 recycling facilities.

The EEOC is the federal agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agencys web site at www.eeoc.gov.
Post Fri Jul 01, 2016 10:54 am 
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El Supremo

has anyone looked into campaign donations to city counil members?

Post Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:58 am 
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El Supremo

Campaign cash concerns raised in waste contract debate
By Eric Czarnik

Posted March 15, 2016

As the Sterling Heights City Council continues to steer its way through negotiating a new waste hauling contract, the issue of political campaign contributions has arisen again.

The issue came up during a March 1 meeting, when a 4-3 council majority decided to pursue a request for proposals process toward a new contract, which could last five to eight years.

The yes votes were Mayor Michael Taylor, Councilwoman Deanna Koski, and Councilmen Doug Skrzyniarz and Nate Shannon. The no votes were Mayor Pro Tem Joseph Romano, and Councilwomen Maria Schmidt and Barbara Ziarko.

In February, they had voted 4-3 along the same lines to reject earlier bids from three waste hauling companies: Waste Management, Rizzo Environmental Services and Emterra Environmental USA.

In those bids, Waste Management had the most affordable price for a basic service plan that couldve saved money. Rizzo had the lowest bid on a plan that included mandatory trash carts and universal curbside recycling, but city officials concluded that that plan wouldve raised net costs.

At the time, Taylor explained his support for rebidding by saying that he wanted an option that would allow residents affordable options but not requirements on obtaining trash carts or participating in curbside recycling.

When the waste contract issue came back to the council March 1, David Domzal, an attorney at Williams Acosta in Detroit, spoke about it during public comment.

Domzal said he was representing Waste Management and recommended that the city allow a full independent investigation over the citys campaign finance and ethics policies before it launches into a full RFP process.

This is not something to be taken lightly, he said. We believe that there needs to be an independent investigation regarding the role of campaign contributions, particularly in solid waste contracts. Waste Management is certainly part of that. Its a matter of public record as far as donations that have been made.

Domzal said an investigation should cover where the campaign funds came from and what funds came from political action committees, as well as how the money was used.

I see the gray money; I see soft money on the federal level, he said. I fear some of this soft money is starting to work its way into local politics, and Im concerned.

He added that the city should ensure that the process is transparent, adding that the waste hauling contract is the citys largest private contract.

Another public speaker said he checked out the campaign donations himself after Romano had raised the subject at an earlier meeting.

I looked into it, because its public information, campaign donations, he said. I am amazed at how much one of the bidders has contributed in here. A lot of money came into here from one of the bidders. Lets get all that out of the way. Lets see how much of that campaign donation we can give back so it doesnt suggest impropriety in decisions.

According to the Michigan Secretary of States online database of campaign finance statements, Rizzo Environmental Services PAC directly donated at least $750 not counting in-kind contributions to each member of the current City Council in 2015 when they all ran as candidates. Another PAC, the Waste Management Employees Better Government Fund of Michigan, also reportedly donated $750 to each council member in 2015.

In addition, the Rizzo PAC is also listed as donating thousands of dollars in 2015 to a PAC called the Mitten Leadership Fund. That fund gave at least $5,000 to each Sterling Heights council member during the last election cycle, and it reportedly gave even more to Shannon, Skrzyniarz and Taylor.

Wade Stevenson, CFO of Rizzo, is listed separately as reportedly contributing $2,000 to the MLF in August.

Campaign finance documentation on the states website from Waste Managements PAC lists a $5,000 expenditure to the MLF on March 4, and $5,000 was reportedly returned under MLFs name on March 31 under voided check. State records also say that Waste Managements PAC reportedly gave $5,000 again to the MLF on April 22. However, the MLFs list of received contributions on the states website did not list that donation.

According to an email from Michigan Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodhams, the PAC will be sent an error or omission notice to clarify whether the contributions from Waste Management Employees Better Government Fund of Michigan should have been disclosed and to correct the matter if necessary.

The City Council did not agree to an investigation of campaign finances, as Domzal requested, at the March 1 meeting. In response to Domzals comments, Skrzyniarz said that the good thing about campaign finance is that all of the information is public record and transparent. He invited the public to look for the campaign finance reports, including the PAC information, on the countys elections website.

I welcome you to do that. Thats what the campaign finance laws are there for: to make sure that we are completely transparent in terms of who funds our campaigns, Skrzyniarz said.

After the meeting, Taylor also said campaign finance records are public, and he emphasized that such financing has nothing to do with how he votes on a topic.

With regard to that garbage contract, Im looking for the lowest price for the overall contract and the best recycling program, and whichever contractor provides that is going to get my vote, period, he said.

In an email, Shannon said Waste Management was also a contributor to the Mitten fund and each of the individual campaigns.

Because we are such a large city, it takes a great sum of money to contact voters and get our message out, he said. Regardless of campaign contributions, my decision making at the council table is with the intent to do what is best for the residents of Sterling Heights.

The City Council expects to vote for a winning bidder based on the RFP process results April 5 in time for the winning bidder to take over trash services May 1.

Learn more about Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489.
Post Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:04 pm 
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El Supremo

The Detroit Free Press (Kim North Shine) on June 7, 2001 published story "NEW WARREN TRASH PACT RAISES A STINK" and was based upon a battle between the Mayor and the council.

The controversy erupted after councilman Jim Fouts went directly to two city departments, in violation of the City Charter, about a trash-hauling contract. Mayor Mark Steenbergh threatened to arrest Fouts.

(sounds like Mayor Williamson and some council members)

Steenburgh sent a letter to Fouts on June 5th:

"I am particularly offended by it's threatening and abusive tone to one of our employees. That letter and your behavior at the last council meeting points to an appalling lack of knowledge about our city charter."

Other charter violations alleged by Steenburgh was Fouts failed to vote without being excused and he did not address his questions with the mayor.

(Flint council needs to learn they can't abstain without a valid reason other than I'm afraid to vote on this issue)

It appears Fouts wrote letters to the Purchasing Director and the City Engineer and threatened them with "alternative measures" if they did not answer his questions.

Council frequently seeks information directly from department heads, however Steenburgh objected to what he called a "bullying tone".

The Warren Charter imposes up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail for violations of the section referenced by Steenburgh.

Fouts objection to the contract went to Rizzo Services of Warren, a new company that was not the lowest bidder.

Note: Many news stories on waste hauler controversies came out of Warren in the 1990's.)

" In 1991, a $16-million contract was at he center of an FBI investigation after it was hastily awarded without bids to a friend of the late mayor Ronald Bonkowski just days after a fire-bombing put the then current hauler out of business. A man with Mafia ties later admitted e had been ordered to burn the building."

(Soave was named often in the FBI documents)

A 1995 trash contact was also investigated by the FBI after it was revealed how officials allowed contractors to change their bids and resubmit bids after the public opening of the bids.
Post Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:48 pm 
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El Supremo

Trash contracts are always going to be messy. makes one wish we still had our own trash haulers.
Post Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:49 pm 
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El Supremo

DETROIT: Second businessman pleads guilty in ongoing Ecorse bribery case
Published: Saturday, December 19, 2009

By Jason Alley

News Herald

DETROIT A businessman at the heart of an ongoing federal investigation into pay-for-play politics in Ecorse pleaded guilty to conspiracy Friday afternoon.

Sheldon Divers, 40, of Romulus appeared before U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn and pleaded guilty rather than face trial in February.

Under the plea agreement, Divers faces up to five years in prison and a $125,000 fine. He also is required to make restitution payments to the city of Ecorse and to forfeit two luxury vehicles to the federal government.

Divers and Stacey Tarockoff, 47, of Commerce Township co-own Michigan Municipal Services.
The men are accused of bribing Mayor Herbert Worthy and City Controller Erwin Earl Hollenquest with tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for their company securing a multimillion-dollar contract with the city.

Within days of being sworn into office in November 2007, Worthy fired the entire Department of Public Works about 60 employees and hired Michigan Municipal Services.

Divers and Tarockoff had formed the company two days after Worthy won the election.

The mayors 2007 political campaign largely was bankrolled by Tarockoff and Divers, who said they gave about $30,000 in cash and other goods to ensure that he was elected mayor, according to court documents.

Once on the citys payroll, Divers and Tarockoff are alleged to have been given advice by Hollenquest on ways they could manipulate the citys accounting practices, submit inflated invoices and receive payment for work that was never done.

The two allegedly bilked the city out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In exchange for those overpayments not being questioned, Divers and Tarockoff allegedly paid off city officials.

Worthy is charged with receiving several cash payments of up to $10,000 at a time. Hollenquest allegedly received cash and a Lexus.

Michigan Municipal Services is said to employ several relatives and friends of city officials, including Worthys son and grandson.

The city has since canceled its contract with Michigan Municipal Services.

Tarockoff has cooperated with federal investigators from the onset, agreeing to wear a wire and help capture audio and video recordings of alleged bribes involving the three other men.

Tarockoff pleaded guilty to structuring financial transactions to evade federal currency reporting requirements, a five-year felony. Under his plea agreement with the U.S. Attorneys Office, he faces up to 13 months in prison and a fine of up to $30,000. The plea agreement also requires Tarockoff to make restitution payments to the city.

He is charged in connection with several cash withdrawals he made from an Ecorse bank in April and May 2008. The withdrawals, which totaled more than $57,000, were structured in increments of less than $10,000 to avoid federal requirements that require paperwork to be filed for withdrawals greater than $10,000.

Divers was charged with conspiracy, bribery, fraud and money laundering. His sentencing is scheduled for April 5.

His attorney, Margaret Raben, did not return calls seeking comment by Friday afternoon.

For their alleged roles, Worthy and Hollenquest also were charged. Worthy faces up to 30 years in prison and fines of $1 million. Hollenquest faces 20 years in prison and fines of $750,000.
Despite the charges, voters re-elected Worthy to a second two-year term on Nov. 3. Michigan law does not prevent someone from seeking office if they have been charged with a crime.

Worthy and Hollenquest have until Jan. 11 to cut a plea deal with the U.S. Attorneys Office or else they are set to go on trial beginning Feb. 8.

U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg said residents deserve better than crooked politicians.

Knowingly paying a city official with the intent to cause that official to steer public contracts or city business toward the payer is nothing but old-fashioned bribery," he said. "Citizens are entitled to municipal governance free of such graft and pay-offs."

Andrew Arena, special agent in charge of the FBI office in Detroit, said everyone responsible will be charged.

"The individuals who pay bribes public officials will be investigated just as aggressively as the public officials who accept them," he said. "Public corruption investigations are a top priority of the FBI and will not be tolerated. This investigation continues to demonstrate the FBI's commitment in investigating public corruption and brings those who betray the public's trust to justice."

Contact Staff Writer Jason Alley at jalley@heritage.com or at 1-734-246-0867.

Last edited by untanglingwebs on Sat Jul 02, 2016 5:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Sat Jul 02, 2016 5:14 pm 
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El Supremo

Rizzo services to take over trash pickup Monday in Taylor
Published: Sunday, June 12, 2016

By Dave Herndon
Twitter: @NHDaveH

News Herald

Starting Monday residents of Taylor will see new trash haulers around the area.

The City Council approved, in a 5-2 vote, a contract with the Macomb-based Rizzo Environmental Services.

The contract goes into effect July 1, but the service will start Monday anyway.

Rizzo will give two weeks worth of service to the city at no additional charge as they transition out of service from Midwest Sanitation.
When I took office in late 2013, I knew that we needed to make changes with Midwest, Mayor Rick Sollars said. We had significant issues with the private-public partnership and performance. When challenged, Midwest admitted that it could not improve its performance in various areas, which automatically opened the door for us to open negotiations with other firms and renegotiate and transfer the contract. We are extremely pleased with the level of services that Rizzo will offer our residents.

Not only is the contract within the same financial scope as the Midwest contract was, but services will be improved for residents according a release from the city.

Under the Midwest contract the city owned the fleet and it was operated by the trash hauling service. The new contract with Rizzo completely privatizes the service. Rizzo will purchase all of the trucks the city owns and replace them with new models to be used in the city.

Youre now looking at a five-stop trash pickup weekly, he said. In essence, should residents require them, they will receive a regular trash pickup, recycling pickup, bulk pickup, yard waste pickup and even pickup from Simple Recycling (which is not affiliated with Rizzo) at the end of the cycle. This is a tremendous increase in service.

Other changes for residents include:

* Weekly trash pickups including unlimited bulk items (certain stipulations still apply hazardous waste is not included, and debris from major renovations cannot be discarded at curbside)
* Weekly recycling pickups

* A Rizzo Rewards program for recycling

* Weekly yard waste pickup as needed (seasonal)

* A Q Alert system that handles all service calls from residents relating to waste pickup

* A cart management team will take over all services related to trash and recycling containers including repairs, replacements, new residents moving into the community, etc.

* Rizzo will be responsible for all expenses related to collection and transportation of waste, recyclables and yard waste

* Rizzo will keep to the same collection schedules and routing currently being done in the community

Sollars touted the bulk-item pick-up savings for residents as one of the key changes. Under the old contract residents had to pay for bulk items.

The old agreement forced residents to pay a fee for bulk pickup, and that just wasnt right, he said. Im a resident myself, and if Im paying taxes, I expect my garbage to be picked up. Within reason, I dont expect to have to pay for extra pickups. Rizzo will do that for us.

Transferring all services relating to trash pickup to Rizzo will also unburden the Citys Department of Public Works. The DPW currently constructs, maintains, etc. all trash and recycling containers. An entire section of the DPW yard is dedicated to that job which now transfers to Rizzo. DPW labor can be concentrated elsewhere. Fuel for the trucks is also at Rizzo's expense, not the City's.
Post Sat Jul 02, 2016 5:21 pm 
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El Supremo

J.J. Gittes March 20, 2015 Athens Services, Burrtec, City, Colton, County, Covina, Fontana, Grand Terrace, Highland, Loma Linda, Los Angeles, Lynwood, Norcal Waste Systems Inc., Rancho Cucamonga, Recology, Redlands, Republic Services, San Bernardino, Taormina Enterprises, West Covina

No-Bid Republic Services Contract In Colton?

Ah, Colton. Brings back memories. In the mid-1990s Councilmembers took bribes in exchange for awarding the citys trash contract to Taoromina Enterprises. Theres a great if tragic story here about a brave Pentecostal minister (Dr. Steve Anderson is on Twitter these days here) whose life was almost ruined by the city and Taoromina in an effort to keep him quiet about the bribes. Yet, despite the bribes, Taoromina kept the contract. Republic Services eventually purchased Taoromina and the contract along with it, and thats where things have stood ever since.

Lets make this simple:

Republic Servicess contract was originally obtained via bribery over two decades ago and has never been put out to bid in a fair and competitive process since. But hardly any of these companies have to deal with getting put out to bid they just dangle some dollars in front of the city council and get yet another juicy (for them) extension of their contract. Its the way business gets done. Its hard to blame them.

But there are people who are easy to blame: irresponsible politicians who take their money and saddle their constituents with the ensuing rate raises and non-competitive contracts. Someone should go check the campaign contribution records of the city council members in Colton. Im going to go way out on a limb and suggest that a few get some money from Republic Services or related entities and personages.

As Breena Jents Colton City News article says:

Shortly after Taormina became the citys solid waste services provider [in 1994], two former city council members, Abe Beltran and Don Sanders, admitted in both court papers and plea deals that they were paid bribes by Taormina, despite no bribery charges being leveled at Republic or Taormina. In 1996, Colton entered into a solid waste agreement with Republic Services, Inc. Since then, the agreement has been amended several times and Republic Services has been providing solid waste services to the City of Colton.
Indeed they did. The City Manager of Colton at the time, Nabar Enrique Martinez, spearheaded the privatization of their trash service but was never charged with anything: he went on to create more checkers in his past, winding up creating controversy in multiple cities (including Lynwood and Bell Gardens) before and after landing in Redlands.

At some point after Enrique left Colton they hired City Manager Darryll Parrish. Parrish was accused of squashing a whistleblower in Colton at one point, forcing that person to report wrongdoing to the D.As office on their own amidst messy internal politics. Parrish left Colton in 2009, leaving behind a budgetary mess that was uncovered after he left, and making some questionable expenditures on a management consultant that Colton has since refused to pay, never mind the email controversy in which Parrish talked about chamber monkeys in reference to the Chamber of Commerce. Parrish went on to become the City Manager of Covina who helped Athens Services secure an outrageous 20 year rolling evergreen contract in 2011. While the contract was in place, he supported and rolled over for Athens when they made unjustified requests to increase rates.

Parrish drove right back into San Bernardino a few years back to shill for Athens Services, telling the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors (who have had corruption problems of their own for years) that they should hire Athens to take care of all their landfills and allow Athens to fill up San Bernardino county with Los Angeless trash for pennies on the dollar. Which is exactly what is happening now. Before Athens, Burrtec had the San Bernardino county contract, and Burrtec took over after the previous company, Norcal Waste Systems Inc. was found to have bribed the hell out of county officials in one of the worst scandals in scandal ridden San Bernardino County history. Norcal is still around too it simply evolved into a another name: Recology.

Its not a clean business.

But I digress. Back to Colton, which always seems to have ongoing problems. As a councilman who has been there for decades says:

This contract was issued 20years ago.
Since that time, (Republic) has been getting extensions on a contract thats worth close to $4 million. Thats a lot of money. For us not to go out for a bid and find out if we can get the best price for the service for our customers is ludicrous. This is not good business.
-Colton Councilman Frank Gonzales
Sandra Pedroza of Colton wrote an excellent letter to the editor explaining the way trash companies often sneakily up their rates over time after low bidding or outright bribing people to get the initial contract.

For residential users, base rates will go up 11 percent, from $22.82 to $25.36. Throw in the added services Republic is pitching tree trimming, street sweeping and a roving clean-up crew and the overall impact on residential users is nearly 23 percent.
For businesses and industrial users, base rates will go up 14 percent, and the so-called fully-loaded rates will increase 20 percent.
As she points, out, this would disproportionately raise Coltons rates.

.our base rates alone will be among the highest in San Bernardino County. A community that can least afford it will pay more for basic trash service than Fontana, Grand Terrace, Highland, Loma Linda and Rancho Cucamonga.

The median household income in Rancho is $77,835, and only 6.5 percent of its population lives below the poverty line, according to the Census numbers. But if the Republic plan goes through, our base rates alone will be 16 percent higher than those in Rancho. Add in the other services, and well be paying 22 percent more than a community with considerably more wealth.
Shes absolutely right.
Post Thu Jul 21, 2016 7:35 am 
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El Supremo

Are any of the Flint Council accepting bribes from Republic and is the $2 million differences in bids an attempt for Republic to recoup? The articles cited indicate Republic is not adverse to giving bribes.

I wish Flint had never eliminated our own trash removal crew and trucks. The mob would not be so involved in trash if there was not so much money to be made.

Flint residents really need to start watching Comcast Channel 17 when Paul Herring shows the City Council meetings. Second Ward councilperson, Jackie Poplar, was arrogant in her support for Republic. She bragged how she could call Republic on Sunday and get a response. Then she a former Republic crew leader over Flint and publicly humiliated him for signing on with Rizzo. She made it clear that the decision had been made in private discussions outside the council chambers.

Don't forget Poplar got a sweetheart deal when US Attorney Haviland only made her publicly apologize and pay back extortion money when she was running a scam to extort $500 a year from Party Store owners for her scholarship program.

And why did the waiting list for repairs through GCCAA disappear when there was an investigation about housing repairs being made on Poplars home after marrying into the Poplar family. Her sister-in law , Donna Poplar was the Executive Director at the time. No disclosure to HUD and no proper accounting of finances in the home.

And who can forget the Marathon Ombudsman votethat lasted into the wee hours of the morning because Poplar voted over 200 times for her sister-in-law Donna Poplar.

What about the John Carpenter lawsuit that resulted from Poplar trash-talking Carpenter to praise her niece, Kay Muhammed (born a Poplar). Money spent on a prolonged lawsuit.

I miss the days when former FBI Director Kowalski used to come in and sit in the middle of the council chambers, completely alone so everyone saw him. The message was I know some of you are crooks!
Post Thu Jul 21, 2016 7:59 am 
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