Trash Talking 2: The Fine Print

533-35 S. Alexander  Yeah, Trash Heap Alright

Because you can only get so much information from GeekTv, I went ahead and did a Request for Public Information (RFPI) and got copies of all the Trash Contracts from the City Attorney. They were very prompt in fullfiling my request but the woman who handed them over to me insisted, rather feebly, that the wording did not include demolition type debris. She wasn’t adamant, she was interested because I was so interested. Thanks to Sarah in the City Attorney’s office for making all these copies and for being so sweet.

At first reading, I thought they were correct and I was wrong. Upon further investigation with my handy pink highlighter, I found that the contract really is poorly written and the “unlimited” issue and debris definitions are actually clearly debatable but also there are more holes to consider.

The formal agreement, the bulk wording of the contract, is altered only a little in the bid portion of each contract . . . particularly for SDT who does the 25s. The wording is different for SDT than the vendors handling trash for the rest of the City. Thanks to RCS for putting some of it online so I could illustrate the circular references to construction/demolition debris within the Bulk Waste and Solid Waste terms as well as the issue of the word ‘unlimited’.

My aim was to get at least some of this online so citizens can review the language and definitions through these links to the actual documents and have a real discussion on the issue. Admittedly, I am impatient, I can’t wait for the Inspector General to get up and running. Keep in mind, I am not saying I am 100% right but I believe in having contracts and all publicly generated minutia online. Who knows where things might go from there. I got tired of being on only one side of this discussion.

Page 2 and Page 8: The language in this first link illustrates the function of the wording ‘unlimited’. While looking at that issue, I found that Bulky Waste generally means a stove or a refrigerator. Or does it? The highlights I have made on Page 2 and on Page 8 reveal some circular wording already. http://www.noladata.org/docs/NOTrashContract/Trash_Contract_2.pdf

Here, ‘demolition’ material and debris is clearly included in Bulky Waste, on Page 8 of the main bidding portion of the contract. The unlimited wording is loud and clear. Page 2, a(i) confilicts because it says that the cost for solid waste is not included but it is clearly included as a core service on Page 1 of the file below. It got scanned out of order and you’ll have to scroll down in my pdf file, it’s actually ended up as the final page, sorry. I am not getting $120K to do this.

Page 1 and the Preliminary Document:
This portion of the contract boldly trumpets that Solid Waste is the primary focus of the contract. Solid Waste is the wording we’re looking at here.
Trash Contract Richard’s Primary Agreement

Definitions:

In order to really understand, it’s necessary to refer to the <a href=”Definitions at the end of the contract. After talking to someone at City Council about it from their, more experienced, perspective we found it does, indeed, seem to be circular. It’s a pitifully written contract which was why some contractors backed out of the bid. See this post by, b.rox, Smoking Garbage, to see the result of this language in actual letters from vendors who were dissuaded from even bidding due to the word ‘unlimited’.

Discussion:

The bad news is that we could all begin demanding that the City tighten up the sloppy wording and make it more consistent and logical with what Metro and Richard’s are now claiming they are EXEMPT from performing as part of this contract. We might think we could then just adjust their payments accordingly. However, to be fair in the process, the City would have to RE-BID the entire deal because obviously, to be fair, we have excluded contractors based on this problematic language.

The Question of Exclusionary Mechanism

The hot stick issue: Did someone at the City Council/Attorney level encourage these particular contractors to bid on this contract with this language in order to deliberately scare off some of the other bidders? Was it a steering mechanism? Did they tell the winners they would not enforce the language when it was passed and that they’d be paid regardless?

Then, there is also this to consider. Another company offered to pick up the debris left from FEMA’s bailout for another million plus dollars. At the last hearing on the matter, Arnie Fielkow expressed great reservation about signing such a contract. He prefers that all parties write a letter requesting FEMA return to the task of demo/construction debris pick up because they claim they bailed because this contract covered what they had been doing. That is a good idea. I don’t think anyone is willing to keep pouring out ‘unlimited’ amounts of money to sanitation issues.

Further, Richards and Metro are doing a very good job and they have claimed that they are bucking up and doing this unlimited pickup of debris as much as they are capable, out of ‘good faith’. But are they? Debris Piles Becoming a Problem Around Town.

Blah Blah Blah
I have the entire contracts on hand but putting them online in completion is long and tedious but I have them if any really geeky people want them. They are all at least 50 pages each and there are three. By the way, the City will charge you 50 cents a page to fulfill this RFPI. I’d be happy to check them out to you from my, ever expanding, documents library.

Here’s a Trash Contracts Index to all the documents RCS has put up online if you’re interested.

Also, there is some benefit to be had by revision of the Ordinance: Article II Sec. 138-43 and on. But even by eliminating all the parameters which conflict with the term ‘unlimted’ in the contract, we still have no magic wand to make the language, pay and the performance formally consistent. Really, we want people to go back to getting dumpsters on their own dime to pick up demo/construction debris but as long as residents are still repairing homes under the Road Home payout, they deserve the same assistance from FEMA that those before them benefited from, so technicallly, FEMA probably needs to come fill the gap again.

Soundtrack for this tedium: Sting: Tea in the Sahara

6 Comments so far

  1. Jack Ware (unregistered) on December 17th, 2007 @ 10:07 am

    Richard’s Disposal can kiss my ass. I still only have one trashcan since one never showed up and my complaining got me my “one free replacement” which was promptly stolen. They insist they have some magic GPS tracking shit on the can so when they find it I’ll have the full compliment again but I will not buy one. Fuck ’em.


  2. Alan (unregistered) on December 20th, 2007 @ 4:43 pm

    I hope you did not get gassed by da man today… :(


  3. Eric (unregistered) on December 23rd, 2007 @ 7:01 pm

    The bids were done this way to get the two companies the Mayor wanted,plain and simple. Follow the money. They should give examples of trash in a more detailed way.


  4. BravoBilly (unregistered) on January 1st, 2008 @ 11:12 pm

    I see the pictures of New Orleans and I have nostalgic memories. I want to go to the Pearl, eat some oysters, etc., listen to some jazz in person. But I can find garbage and trash here in Sarasota, FL if I go looking for it. But those snowbirds coming to retire and die here are making sure that the Mexicans are keeping the place pretty clean. But, I keep feeling like, I want to go home.


  5. BravoBilly (unregistered) on January 1st, 2008 @ 11:13 pm

    I see the pictures of New Orleans and I have nostalgic memories. I want to go to the Pearl, eat some oysters, etc., listen to some jazz in person. But I can find garbage and trash here in Sarasota, FL if I go looking for it. But those snowbirds coming to retire and die here are making sure that the Mexicans are keeping the place pretty clean. But, I keep feeling like, I want to go home.


  6. BravoBilly (unregistered) on January 1st, 2008 @ 11:13 pm

    I see the pictures of New Orleans and I have nostalgic memories. I want to go to the Pearl, eat some oysters, etc., listen to some jazz in person. But I can find garbage and trash here in Sarasota, FL if I go looking for it. But those snowbirds coming to retire and die here are making sure that the Mexicans are keeping the place pretty clean. But, I keep feeling like, I want to go home.



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