Ahem – for those of you in to acronyms, it is called the WPWMA. Western Placer Waste Management Agency.
It is a dumpster fire.
Let’s get in to the dump for a bit as it is a microcosm of government in general.
20 years ago was the last time the WPWMA went out to bid. At that time, they hired NORTEC waste to manage the Athens Ave Dump.
In the 20 years the facilities have been operated by Nortech, they have made no substantial investments in modernization or innovation. Put bluntly, the operation is outdated. After over 20 years of having one contractor running the waste and landfill operations (two separate contracts) it appears that even in the in the face of serious reservations on the part of Mayor Allard and Councilmember Bill Halldin, there seems to be a concerted effort to award a sole-source, no bid contact to the same provider.
Based on comments at WPWMA board meetings, it appears that this effort to keep a sole source contract is being fueled by secret negotiations with the current operator, Nortech.
Why would the staff of the WPWMA be negotiating in secret with someone who would likely respond to a public bidding process? Doesn’t that give them an unfair advantage?
Here is the rub – it appears as if four out of the five board members want to put the project out to bid, but there’s still a concerted effort by others to prevent that. A Bid is called an RFP in government bureaucrat terms. (Request for Proposal)
At the same time, at previous meetings some board members and staff talked about the “great work” Nortech has been doing and seemed to allude to promises of big things to come if they are granted a no-bid multi-decade extension. How often do promises made by government ever come true? Why are the staffers working so hard behind the scenes?
Bill Halldin and John Allard both rightly pointed out that the proper place for these types of proposals is through a public bidding process. Not only should Nortech be able to demonstrate what they can do, but so should all the other companies that do this work throughout the state.
Now, if the staffers get their way, what incentive is there for Nortech to sharpen their pencils and provide the best pricing if there is no competition?
This is key, the city of Roseville has taken a very strong position that this contract “must” go out to bid. Roseville is the largest single customer, sending 49% of the material to the operation. Shouldn’t they listen to their largest, most important customer? (I am still not sure why Roseville does not get 49% of the vote on that board)
As a follow up, we will be looking in to that “great service,” I’ve heard the current operator hasn’t been meeting their diversion targets – and they may have even received some violation notices. This is something I will be digging into perhaps with Public Records Requests and reviews of minutes and staff reports. (Diversion targets are state mandates to reclaim certain percentages of waste in various categories)
Yes folks, we’ve been writing about virtual dumpster fires in politics for years – now we may actually have one! (IN Placer County!)