Solid Waste District Tables Separation Resolution But Approves Portions Of It

By
Steve Robb - Athens Messenger staff reporter

Dateline
Updated Tue, Feb 11, 2014 10:59 am

A resolution to separate the Athens-Hocking Solid Waste District from the nonprofit entity that runs recycling programs in the two counties was tabled at Monday's district board meeting.

However, the board took separate action on some aspects of the resolution.

The move to table was made by Athens County Commissioner Charlie Adkins.

"I've still got some issues with this," Adkins told the board. "I would like to at least table it, so I can deal with it a little better in my mind."

After the meeting, Adkins said he has issues with the wording of the resolution regarding the shifting of district employees to the nonprofit, and with a provision for selling equipment to the nonprofit.

The vote was 3-2, with all three Athens County commissioners voting to table, while Hocking County Commissioners Clark Sheets and John Walker voted against tabling it. Hocking County Commissioner Sandra Ogle had not yet arrived at the meeting.

A couple of issues addressed in the resolution were dealt with separately Monday.

The board voted to cancel its written lease with Athens County for office space at the County Home, replacing it with an oral month-to-month lease. That will allow time for the district and nonprofit to negotiate separate contracts for office space.

The board also voted to turn its billing of recycling and garbage collection customers over to the non-profit.

The resolution that was tabled also included a provision to terminate the 14 union employees of the district, effective March 1, so that they can be hired by the nonprofit, Athens-Hocking Recycling Centers Inc.

Adkins said after the meeting that he was concerned about the use of the word "terminate" and whether the resolution, as worded, protected employees in the move to the nonprofit.

Athens County Commissioner Chris Chmiel said he has been talking to the union about the matter.

"I think we have an understanding how to make the transition happen," Chmiel said.

Chmiel made a motion to go forward with the transfer, but Adkins said he wants to see the actual documents before voting. Chmiel's motion died for lack of a second.

Garry Hunter, attorney for the district, said after the meeting that he will be preparing paperwork to handle the move as a transfer, rather than a termination. He said it will be a three-party agreement beween the district, nonprofit and the union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Sandy Shonborn, AFSCME regional director, said the union is not opposed to the action, as long as employees retain their pay levels and benefits.

The tabled resolution also included a provision to have district equipment, including trucks, appraised to that it can be sold to the nonprofit.

At Monday's meeting, Sheets moved to hire an appraiser for $500. It did not pass, however, because the three Hocking County commissioners voted in favor of it and the three Athens County commissioners voted against it.

A question had arisen earlier whether the equipment actually belongs to the solid waste district, and Hunter had issued an opinion saying the district is the owner.

Adkins said Monday that he doesn't think the district owns all the property, and Chmiel has expressed a similar opinion. Adkins said there is equipment in the name of Athens County.

At Monday's meeting, the district's board also voted to take an initial step toward implementing flow control, which would allow the district to dictate where haulers take solid waste.

The board instructed Hunter to proceed with the matter. Hunter said after the meeting that he will prepare a timeline, with dates, for implementing the several steps necessary to begin flow control. The process includes a public hearing and comment period, and it will take further action by the board before it can go into effect.

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