Dewey and the 7 Dwarfs
Atta boy, Jim Twombly (dwarf No. 1 – Dummy). When you have bad news, don’t tell the boss – just push it under the rug. That’s what Tulsa’s city manager did for nearly a year when he learned that the Tulsa Authority for the Recovery of Energy’s (TARE) green waste collection program didn’t work. No matter, just keep taking the citizens’ money for a service discontinued.
The city is also planning on spending $350,000 to remind customers of the rules and services of the curbside trash and recycling program. What a joke. They can’t even follow their own rules.
It seems that last November Twombly was told by Solid Waste Manager Eric Lee (dwarf No. 2 – Sleepy) that the heralded green-waste program wouldn’t work. The machine(s) the city owned couldn’t remove the clear plastic bag required by the city. So the decision was made – after consulting with Trash Board Chair Cheryl Cohenour (dwarf No 3, Stealthy) – to simply drive the green waste over to the city’s trash incinerator, burn it and keep the change.
In Tulsa’s case, the change is formidable. The city has required 50-cent stickers on all curb waste clear bags. Clear bags – not those solid dark green ones – so we see what’s in them. The city has also been collecting $1.09 monthly green waste fee from 116,500 residential customers. Dwarf No. 3, Stealthy has since moved on and was replaced by Randy Sullivan (dwarf No. 4 – Sleazy) as chairman of the TARE Board. Sullivan immediately ruled out refunds to any and all citizens who were misled.
“Did the city pickup your green waste from your curb?” he asked. “The answer is yes,” Sullivan said. “We had some operational problems, but we are not the only city to run into those.”
These statements are taken from the Wall Street Journal of August 16, 2013. Great public relations, Mayor. Technically, dwarf No. 4, Sleazy Sullivan is right, the city did pick up the green waste at curbside.
However, they did it at a different time other than when normal trash is picked up. In the past, all garbage and green waste was picked up on your assigned weekdays. There was no set aside time for only green waste. This was all the invention of the out-of-control trash board in creating more work. This all started a couple of years ago when the city’s trash board was staring at going out of business. Unless they found a new use and indebtedness, there was no reason to continue with the authority.
So the members of the board decided to redo Tulsa’s perfectly good trash service. The city would fire the current independent haulers, purchase an array of new standardized containers – one for solid waste another for recyclables – and draw up a new green waste policy. Costs would go through the roof, but who’s counting since they cared so much for the environment and you?
Unfortunately, our pathetic Mayor Dewey Bartlett (who by statute was a member of the trash authority) never attended a meeting. Most authority members, who voted for this monstrosity, were still serving because the mayor had not got around to replacing them. Had he replaced them, there would be no problem today.
Who knows where the mayor was? Certainly not out recruiting new business to the city. Here, too, his record is miserable.
So the trash authority borrowed millions of dollars, fired a group of wonderful haulers, who had worked for all of us for 40 years and destroyed the system. If the mayor had not been AWOL, none of this would have happened.
Now to the truth. As President Obama said, “He didn’t know anything about the probe into IRS targeting.” Dan Crossland, (dwarf No. 5, Sloppy) who heads the city’s streets and storm water department, said, “He doesn’t know when the decision was made or who made it.”
As the Tulsa World reported, “Bartlett Press Secretary Lloyd Wright (dwarf No. 6 – Grumpy) relayed a statement that ‘you don’t tell a CEO that this (green waste) is going somewhere else…the CEO has 500 million things to worry about.’”
I wish it could be otherwise, but Mayor Bartlett is no CEO who can handle difficult challenges. He is the central figure in Tulsa’s latest bad news. If he had acted months ago, there would be no story or need for the mayor’s campaign manager, Dan Patten (dwarf No. 7 – Misleading) to say that former Mayor Kathy Taylor is running a negative campaign by asking about transparency.
Taylor correctly knows the public is fed up with incompetence and can easily do to the city’s coming $919 million bond issue what they did to Vision 2. Dewey might be a loser, but the city shouldn’t be also.