Glendora Mayor Doug Tessitor fields your community questions and answers them in a weekly column. In Glendora Patch’s Mayor’s Roundtable, you are invited in an ongoing dialogue about issues and concerns you have regarding your city. Share your ideas and voice your opinion.
Have a question you'd like Mayor Tessitor to answer? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations, Mr. Tessitor on your re-election and your selection as Glendora mayor. I believe the city chose well in this election. Just a question, and you’re probably sick of this topic since you hear it at every council meeting: how do you explain the accusations that the city does not put city trash services out to bid? Is it really true that residents could get a cheaper rate if we did? I’m hearing this quite often, and I'm skeptical of the source, but it would be good to hear a solid explanation. Thank you.
Thank you for the kind words and congratulations! I appreciate them. Thank you also for the question about the upcoming trash contract. I will give you the facts and hopefully it will put the entire issue into perspective.
First, a little history: The City of Glendora had what is known as an “evergreen” contract with Athens Services until 2001. In 2001, the Glendora City Council voted to exercise a termination clause, which provided for one five-year renewal and subsequent renegotiation of the agreement, or an open bidding process to commence at that time.
Sometime during the year in 2005, Athens began discussions with the (then) City Manager, Eric Ziegler regarding the possibility of renegotiating the contract. Those discussions continued until mid-year 2006. At that time Mr. Ziegler brought to the Council’s attention that the Trash Contract was expiring, that negotiations had been ongoing with Athens and that Council needed to consider approving the renegotiated agreement.
The Council had discussions in closed session about the proposed agreement and the advisability of putting the contract out to open bid. A question was asked with regard to public records and the details of the rates and other conditions in the proposed agreement. The council determined at that time that any competitive bidder would have an advantage knowing what Athens had already agreed to and would be able to “low-ball” a bid unfairly. Consequently, we felt that the agreement that had been negotiated was in fact a “fait-accompli," an accomplished, presumably irreversible deed.
That agreement was approved with a date of December 1, 2006 for a term of seven years. It also provided that, “(ii) no later than five (5) years from the date hereof, City and Athens Services will meet to discuss extending the term of this Agreement.” Therefore, according to the agreement, we must meet to discuss extending it, but if we do not agree to extend it, the contract will not expire until November 30, 2013.
There is nothing in state law that requires the city to put this contract out to bid. There is only one small group that seems to have issues with Athens, but in the eight years I have been on the city council, I am unaware of a single complaint about Athens’ customer service. In all the years I have lived in Glendora, which include all the years Athens has provided our trash pickup, I have never had occasion to complain about their costs or services.
Any competitive bid would have to provide equivalent services for the same or a lower price. And provide comparable customer service. For about $25 per month, Athens will pick up virtually any discarded item, household trash and yard waste, sort them in their MRF and provide street sweeping services city wide.
I am of the opinion that we should do everything we can to determine how our rates and service levels compare with other communities that contract with other providers. If there appear to be significant variances, then we should seek competitive bids. If, on the other hand, our research shows that we have reasonable rates given our service levels, then I would choose to follow the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”