Progressive: ‘It was a bad week’

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Solid waste collector says personnel changes led to rash of recent reports

Steve Bandy
Managing Editor
Crowley Post-Signal

Everyone was expecting a fight when the Solid Waste Committee of the Acadia Parish Police Jury discussed recent issues with garbage collection Tuesday night.
Even the chairman of the Solid Waste Committee was hesitant about entering the fray. “I hate to get started with this,” said Richard Faul when the agenda item came up.
But the potential controversy was quickly diffused when officials from Progressive Waste Solutions admitted that there had, indeed, been a noticeable lapse in service of late.
“It was a bad week,” said Jamarick “Jay” Sonnier, regional manager, noting that the company had been forced to use a number of new drivers on various routes, resulting in many missed pick-ups.
“We’ve been working hard to correct this,” Sonnier added.
Robert Buckner, operations manager, explained that the company is working to rectify the problems and asked for understanding from the jury.
“We usually average under 1 percent (missed pick-ups) any month. This past week we were over that,” Buckner said.
Asked specifically about a situation on Mims Cove Road (illustrated in a recent edition of The Crowley Post-Signal) where waste hadn’t been picked up for more than two months, both Sonnier and Buckner cited safety concerns in the area.
Mims Cove Road is a relatively short, single-lane, gravel road. Up until December, the collection truck driver was picking up the waste then backing out of the area onto Bertrand Road, another narrow lane.
A new driver took over the route in January.
“It’s just too dangerous to back out there,” Buckner said, explaining that the company has been in the process of assessing routes as a result of accidents within the company.
Sonnier added that, “thanks to Mr. Pee Wee (Michael Schexnider, parish road manager), we think we have a solution to that problem.”
He said Schexnider has been negotiating with landowners at the end of Mims Cove Road to construct a “turn-around” for the collection trucks.
Both Buckner and Sonnier encouraged jurors to call them personally about any problems.
“I have you on speed dial,” Juror Robert Guidry told Sonnier.
Residents wishing to report a missed pick-up should contact their police juror or call Progressive at 788-1230 or the parish landfill at 783-4834.
In other Solid Waste Committee business, an apparent concern regarding the recent purchase of a compactor for the landfill was aired.
In a letter to Secretary-Treasurer Laura Faul, Bobby Kennerson, account manager with CLM, from whom the compactor was purchased, requested a meeting with jurors regarding the trade-in value of the old compactor.
“When we inspected the machine for trade value, it was in running condition and mobile,” Kennerson wrote. “Once the new unit was delivered, we were informed that the drive motors went out on the trade-in unit.”
The Broussard-based company valued the trade-in at $25,000 at the time of the inspection and applied that amount towards the purchase price of the new BOMAG compactor, according to Kennerson.
“Once we discovered that the trade-in was inoperable, I contacted then-Secretary-Treasurer (Richard) Dickie Latiolais and was told either we accept the trade ‘as is’ or we could take the (police jury) to court.”
Kennerson went on to explain that CLM decided to wait unitl the new slate of jurors and the new secretary-treasurer was seated “and then revisit this issue under more amicable conditions.”
He asked for a meeting between CLM and jurors.
“As it stands right now. CLM cannot accept the trade-in for $25,000 in the current condition, but we are willing to make concessions so that all parties involved will benefit” Kennerson concluded.
Latiolais, who was retained by the jury through the middle of May, pointed out that the contract for the purchase of the new compactor “did not specify that the trade-in had to be in running condition.”
Robert Hebert, solid waste supervisor, acknowledged that the old compactor was operational when CLM personnel inspected it, but that it broke down before they came to pick it up, after the new one had been ordered.
Brad Andrus, counsel for the jury, said he would have to review the original contract documents and purchase agreement before he could make any recommendation to the jury.
He was asked to have an opinion ready for the April 12 meeting.