- Allentown City Council in Pennsylvania voted 5-1 Wednesday to award a multi-year trash-hauling contract to Waste Management, based on the recommendation of the city administration — a deal that has met heated debate and will likely trigger a lawsuit. Both residents and trash hauler J.P. Mascaro & Sons are questioning the fairness of the bid process.
- The contract award is currently under federal investigation and also garnered skepticism because a former city solicitor was arrested on fraud charges for his involvement in another Request for Proposal (RFP) contract.
- Waste Management will provide single-stream recycling collection services; the alternative trash separation method would increase residents’ collection fees another $15. The service is scheduled to begin in June, but is funded in the proposed 2016 budget since it requires Waste Management to purchase about 10 natural gas-powered vehicles, prior. Council will vote on the budget on Monday.
The controversial deal has generated mistrust among residents due to the current federal investigation into the RFP and the previous incident where charges were brought. The skepticism is also amplified by an apparent lack of transparency; residents’ had asked for information tied to the bidding process but were denied access.
"I would ask council to renegotiate this and start over in a totally transparent manner," said resident Lou Shupe according to WFMZ.
Council member Julio Guridy cast the only vote against the contract, which the council was ready to approve on Nov. 30 then put the decision on hold to seek a legal opinion from the city solicitor after William Fox Jr., J.P. Mascaro & Sons’ attorney, continued to claim the bidding process was illegal.
This problem has been seen in many other incidents across the industry. A county government in Indiana is currently in the throes of a lawsuit for its alleged unethical bidding protocol.
With the Allentown contract, Fox said, “…There will be litigation if it’s awarded because it’s so improper."
City Solicitor Susan Wild was asked if she wanted to respond to Fox. "No response needed ... Mr. Fox has made it clear that Mascaro intends to bring litigation," she said.