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Mayor Jerry Toomey vetoes council decision on recycling contract

Friday, January 27, 2017
I have submitted the necessary documentation to the City Finance Office within the 10-day limitation to file my veto against the council vote of January 17, 2017.
I am fully aware of what the council vote was at the council meeting of January 17th, and I do not expect any council member to change their position and I do not expect my veto will hold up. In spite of that, I believe it to be imperative that a large number of my constituents know that this mayor did hear their concerns regarding a lack of good customer service principles and complaints against Dependable Sanitation on safety issues. There is a large segment of our citizens who feel they were not heard and that minds were already made up long before the council vote of January 17th. They honestly believe that their opinions did not matter and that their concerns were ignored. Customer service and safety concerns should not have to take a back seat to pricing issues, container sizes, containers with or without lids, curb-side sorting, single-streaming, should we even be recycling or anything else. Customer service and safety must be first and foremost moving forward with any company and our citizens do not feel good about our past history with Dependable Sanitation. The response received from Dependable management at the council meeting is inadequate with excuses for past poor performance with little comfort or assurances that anything would drastically improve. I share that opinion with many of our citizens. Many past complaints have been ignored and that was pretty much validated by Mike Erickson’s response to these issues.
It has been reported that “several” citizens had safety concerns and other complaints. The truth of the matter is that there have been far more than “several”. I had received dozens of calls and emails prior to the January 17th meeting. The fact is, I sent almost four pages of brief comments from our citizens to each council member prior to the meeting. One day after the city council meeting, I had received a dozen or more phone calls and emails expressing opposition to the vote taken by our city council members. On our city website alone, I had received 34 hits in a one day period consisting of 29 comments to drop Dependable, 2 comments to stay with Dependable, and 3 that I considered to be somewhat neutral.
Another determining factor in my decision to move forward with my veto wat that the City received notification yesterday that there would be an administrative appeal filed regarding the council’s award of the contract to Dependable. This action will force the issue back onto the city council agenda for further discussion whether I veto or not. The veto will ensure that the discussion is not limited and that proper action can be taken after that discussion, whatever that action might be. We should make sure that the customer service and safety issues that are of such great concern to so many of our citizens are fully voiced. For any council member who might think this is not worthy of further conversation, they need to remember that there is an election coming up this June. Let’s pay attention to what so many people are asking us to do and let’s properly address their customer service and safety concerns.

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