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Trout: Absolute Waste bid for sanitation services should be rejected



This news story was published on September 23, 2012.
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City Administrator Brent Trout, at the Mayor’s and Council’s direction, helped develop an RFP for sanitation services from local, private companies to replace the City’s sanitation department.  There are no valid bids.

by Matt Marquardt –

MASON CITY – The Mason City Council and Mayor will hold a work session on Tuesday, September 25th at 4 PM at City Hall, second floor conference room.  The work session will focus on considering the responses from private companies to take over sanitation services now provided by the city’s sanitation department.  The other item the council will discuss is the city’s consultant selection process.

Regarding sanitation, the City of Mason City within the last several weeks solicited RFP’s (Requests for Proposals) for its sanitation services after Mayor Eric Bookmeyer and several council members brought the idea forward this spring as part of their “managed competition” agenda.

The city asked four local waste haulers to submit RFP’s: Waste Management, Absolute Waste Removal, Holt Services and Jendro Sanitation.

Only Absolute Waste submitted a bid, and in a City Hall memo, City Administrator Brent Trout says the bid should be rejected because Absolute’s bid proposal is “materially different than the specific requirements of the Request for Proposal, therefore is not valid.”

In a letter to Trout and the City Council, Waste Management articulated their observation that “It is clear that the Council does not have an appetite for seriously moving forward with this issue and is content with the status quo.”  Waste Management even went on to say that “There is no doubt that the rate residents in Mason City are paying (for sanitation services) is a good rate.”  The letter also addressed other concerns about the City’s RFP.  Read the work session PACKET here to see the entire letter from Waste Management and the other waste haulers.

Trout said in the memo that “it would be inappropriate to not at least discuss the proposal in a general way with the Council.  The discussion would be beneficial to understanding the current service and the primary concerns of the contractors that submitted information.  I look forward to this discussion.”

Read the work session PACKET here for much more information (large PDF file) on the RFP from the City to the private waste haulers and their responses.

Regarding the consultant selection process, complaints about the City not considering or providing projects to “all” local engineers and architects evenly have been expressed in the past.  City staff has been directed to research a new procedure for consultant hiring.  The Council appointed Council member Scott Tornquist to act as a liaison to city staff as the item was developed.  A policy has been developed and the Council will discuss it at the work session.

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17 Responses to Trout: Absolute Waste bid for sanitation services should be rejected

  1. jimmy Smithe Reply Report comment

    September 30, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Deep within all this you will find that the really important story is just how much is Mason City on the hook for unfunded pensions. Inquiring minds want to know all the dollars involved with future pension payouts. How does the city track those? Dig into this matt! Don’t cuddle up with Trout with Skippy the dippy does. Get the facts for us.

  2. Post Reply Report comment

    September 27, 2012 at 6:14 am

    Now lets take bids on TROUTS position.

  3. rukidding Reply Report comment

    September 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    This is proof that public employees can provide a service at a cost savings. Not one of these private companies could provide the same level of service cheaper then what is currently being charged. Maybe its time we lay off on bashing public employees they do provide excellent service at cheaper cost.

    • Jason Reply Report comment

      September 24, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      Did the Sanitation Dept. include a bid with the conditions set for the private haulers( i.e. the 10yr no increase in cost)?

      • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

        September 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm

        No bid was submitted by the City’s sanitation department.

      • rukidding Reply Report comment

        September 24, 2012 at 6:44 pm

        No the sanitation department did not have to provide a bid because all of their cost and services provided are public knowledge. The sanitation department has had less then a 1% increase over the last 15 years and no hidden cost for fuel or dumping fees. Not one private hauler could compete.

  4. Watchdog Reply Report comment

    September 24, 2012 at 8:40 am

    This is proof positive the Mason City Council is totally dysfunctional.

    “The Council appointed Council member Scott Tornquist to act as a liaison to city staff as the item was developed.”

  5. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 24, 2012 at 8:10 am

    I believe the pension fund for these city employees is the game breaker – Mason City along with the state of Iowa is coming to realize this – Iowa 80 billion in debt for public servant pension funds – Most other states are also broke because of the same thing. Go look ! I’m not chitting you.

  6. concernedcitizen Reply Report comment

    September 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Why would any of the other sanitation companies want to put a bid in and have to put up with the incompetent people running the city? They probably thought it wasn’t worth all the headaches and idiots they had to deal with. Now Trout wants to look good and say to reject the only bid they got and leave well enough alone. There was no reason to mess with it in the first place and get everyone in an uproar. If they would put the time and effort in to working on getting decent paying jobs in town that they do on attempting to fix what isn’t broken, maybe they may accomplish something worthwhile for a change. Maybe they could put the money into that instead of that stupid art they have hanging around down town. Remind me again why we need that and what it is doing for the town???????????????? And also, why is it we pay Trout $146,000 a year when the population continues to go down and we continue to loose tax money? What exactly does he do to earn that amount of money? What a flippin joke!

    • N.A.. Reply Report comment

      September 24, 2012 at 11:20 am

      Open bid Trout’s job, I’m sure someone could bid under the RIDICULOUS amount he gets paid. Please someone explain to me what he does for 146,000. Break it down, I’m sure you could cut about 100,000 off his salary.

  7. Observer Reply Report comment

    September 23, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    This whole fiasco was not customer centric, meaning, it was not based upon the needs of the citizens. As so many have said, it was fixing something that was, and is not broken.

    In reading the packet provided, there was a lot of paper pushing and meetings. Staff spent a lot of time and energy on finding out what the rate payers already know.

    In the corporate world, the focus on giving the customers what they want, at an economical price is more important than an eye on the competition.

    If you do your job as customers expect, and give them quality products or services that meet their exact needs, the competition in the end, has to try to keep up with you.

    It is about long term relationships, not short term profit or gain. And you cannot rest on your laurels, but have to continually find out what it is your customers want and need (hint, it aint only about price). It is also about being a good citizen of the community.

    What good is it to the community, when a company pays rock bottom wage and no benefits? Such companies are a drain on the rest of the community in the form of higher taxes to help those earning a substandard wage, or to subsidize health needs.

    But if one is not really concerned about the citizens of the community or their welfare, this kind of thing will come up again and again. Don’t ask me the reasoning, I find none in it at all.

  8. blog Reply Report comment

    September 23, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Another attack on the working of MC by the beerman and his trained monkeys. Only Kuhn and Lee showed any spine in this disaster. Also heard a rumor Hickeys father was fired from the sanitation department. If this is true could this have been a grudge play.

    • John Bunnell Reply Report comment

      September 23, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      There’s three sides to the story of why Hickeys father was fired/let go from city employment. The cities side, Bobs side, and the rumor side. I wouldn’t believe much of the rumor side. Now the other two sides are going to conflict each other because one side will say that the other is not being truthful. So now you will have to find someone that worked with Bob, and someone from city hall that knows about the situation and will be truthful, to get to the truth. It is strange though, how someone that was raised by a city employee with (decent pay, decent benefits, etc)would have such a dislike for city employees. One thing is for sure, Bob Hickey did get fired/let go from city employment.

  9. dirty ernie Reply Report comment

    September 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    excuse me, bookmeyer, sorry for the typo.

  10. Sandy servant ex Reply Report comment

    September 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    This was the biggest waste of time if they worked on other more important things as hard as they did this maybe we would have more jobs and lower taxes. This whole think was wrong from the beginning. The council has put undue stress on families. I hope they finally put this to rest!

    • Sandy servant ex Reply Report comment

      September 23, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      Sorry name is servantez

      • dirty ernie Reply Report comment

        September 23, 2012 at 5:08 pm

        I agree with you. Now lets move on and get rid of Tornquist and Boobmeyer.