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Norwalk Dem mayoral candidates debate garbage contract

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Democratic mayoral candidates Harry Rilling, Andy Garfunkel and Vinny Mangiacopra answer this question posed by Norwalk Democratic Town Committee member Peter Thor at the recent NDTC mayoral forum: “The Moccia administration privatized the refuse collection service leading to a deterioration of the quality of service, a 10-year contract requiring the taxpayers to buy the private collector’s trucks and severe losses to dedicated city workers. What is your position regarding privatization?”

7 comments

notaffiliated July 5, 2013 at 7:12 am

Deterioration of service??? Seems to me our garbage gets picked up once a week and I can’t recall that not happening.

Ken P Jr July 5, 2013 at 7:14 am

I’m just one guy but I havent noticed ANY decrease in service. Ironically given Rillings comments, my cans are now standing upright when I get home whereas before I had to gather them after they were tossed aside by city employees.
Had the city acted responsibly this would not have hapenned. We were paying men for a full day and letting them go home afrter 6 hours or so. The DPW didnt even bother to bid against city carting, pretty much shooting itself in the foot.
On another note I heard it said that “We are the workers party” Well, perhaps if you are lucky enough to work for the city or a powerful union. Otherwise the democrats are pricing us out of our homes with their constant tax & spend policies. Even the Republicans have jumped into that boat to a lesser degree.
I cant really think of a worse thing which can happen to Norwalk than if we elect a man even more liberal than Moccia for Mayor. Statewide we NEED conservative leadership and especially in Norwalk where most focus goes into getting grants to fund things our taxes are for. Why are we ALWAYS on such a tight budget? Why is there NEVER any attempt to scale back, not the cost of essential services like garbage, but the size of the city govt or scope of its programs? Why do we focus on building MORE subsidized houseing instead of decreasing the number of people needing help? Why do the police NEED suvs, fancy boats & motorcycles? Why did the FD NEED a brand new state of the art place to park fire trucks?

Our biggest issue isnt who picks up the dang garbage. Its the way clowns like those in the video see us as money machines they can milk to fund things THEY think important, regardless of how our roads are or if our pier gets rebuilt. We need a cut back & get back to basics Mayor, if such a man exists he certainly was not in this video.

BSmith July 5, 2013 at 8:14 am

No problems with garage or recycling at my house either. The Democrats need to stop pandering to a few people and start looking for ways to get all of Norwalk more enhancements in general and spend less doing it.

LWitherspoon July 5, 2013 at 8:57 am

Why did Mr. Miklave declare the contract a 10-year “no bid” contract? The City’s purchasing department put the contract out to bid and if memory serves they received multiple bids. A “no bid” contract is one where business is awarded without seeking bids from all qualified vendors.
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The contract that these four candidates are criticizing contains a “termination for convenience” clause. According to comments made by Bruce Kimmel, who sat on the Public Works Committee that handled this issue, the contract can be canceled at any time by the City for any reason, or for no reason at all. Therefore the real question that these candidates should be asked is whether or not as Mayor they would exercise that clause, terminate the contract, and give up the savings it produced. You can bet they’re privately being asked that by Local 2405, who wants those jobs back for themselves. Will our taxes go up by $1 million more so that eight Union guys can go back to their old, higher-paying jobs?

Bruce Kimmel July 5, 2013 at 11:32 am

There were two bids, City Carting and Finnochio, and the former saved the city much more money. We interviewed both companies. I always believed that if City Carting’s numbers were not valid, Finnochio would have raised that as an issue. Also, the ten year contract substantially lowered the interest payments that City Carting will be paying for it’s very sizable capital investment. Mr. Rilling really never heard of a ten year contract? Plus, there are many “outs” for the city and the company, including “for convenience” if a future Council does not approve funding.
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All four of the mayoral candidates, by implication, do not trust the Finance Department and Tom Hamilton, who the Democrats wholehearted supported for his honesty, principles, and competence during the Knopp administration, when he was hired. All of the data and projected savings were carefully vetted by our finance folks throughout the process. Interesting how none of the candidates mentioned the combined savings over ten years of roughly $17 million, when solid waste and single stream carting are added together.
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It should also be noted that the workers for City Carting receive a wage that is much much higher than what our own city ordinance requires; if I remember correctly, it ranged from the mid-20 to mid-30 dollars per hour. The reason was simple: It’s hard work and, without a decent wage, turnover would be high. All of the City Carting workers have 401Ks and health insurance that even includes dental.
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Eight DPW workers were transferred from solid waste collection to the highway division as a result of the outsourcing. They had been working an average of 5.2 hours per day in solid waste. The transfer did effect their salaries, but not their benefits.
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It should also be remembered that all of this happened in the context of contract negotiations that led to binding arbitration. If the union had not been inflexible on the solid waste issues; if the union had not bet that it could sway the council to vote against outsourcing, none of this would have happened.
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Going by the answers provided by all four candidates on this issue — especially their refusal to say whether they would opt out of the contract — I would say none of them have what it takes to be mayor.

Bruce Kimmel July 5, 2013 at 11:43 am

Forgot to mention: The evil, unheard of 10 year contract that allowed City Carting to make low interest payments on its capital investment also allowed it to lower the cost of the contract with the city. The evil, unheard of 10 year contract saved taxpayers a bunch of money.

Tim T July 5, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Have to love it when someone like Ken
uses the old old right wing talking point in regards to the democrats being tax & spend. The fact of the matter is history shows it is the Republicans that are the constant tax & spend group . However I do realize facts don’t seem matter to Republicans.

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