- The Town Council of Summerville, SC voted last week authorize the town attorney to send a letter to Waste Pro finding the company in breach of contract, as reported by the Summerville Journal Scene. The council declared Waste Pro in default and gave the company 60 days to exit the agreement.
- The contract termination is coming after the city warned Waste Pro that customers were unhappy with the company's performance, according to The Post and Courier. The current three-year contract began in January. Complaints included missed collections, leaking garbage fluid and not delivering carts to residents while claiming those carts were delivered.
- "The commitment is here. I want this to be a success," Robert Allen, director of government relations for Waste Pro said, according to the local reports. The company said it has a new operations manager in place and Summerville's mayor indicated the city may be open to working things out with Waste Pro before the contract officially breaks.
The town issued a warning to Waste Pro in January, giving the company 30 days to solve customer complaints. Mayor Wiley Johnson said the city was still determining how to best move forward. Options, he said at the council meeting, include putting the services out to bid or looking back at other companies who were a part of the bid that Waste Pro won.
Waste Pro has recently faced similar contract issues in the region, including Henderson County, NC. After acquiring 8,000 residential accounts from Republic Services, Waste Pro was found in violation of contract based on reports of missed collections and commingling waste and recycling. The company was given a 30-day extension late last week to fix service issues before the county takes further action. The Henderson County service issues came after similar reports in Asheville and Buncombe counties in North Carolina.
In other regions, Waste Pro is working on innovative solutions to countering the labor shortage. In Florida, the company is partnering with the state Department of Corrections to interview and hire "offenders under state supervision" for mechanic, driver and helper positions. While a deeper staff pool to draw from would likely be seen as a positive in Summerville and Henderson County, it appears that the service issues are less related to labor force, and more connected to logistical issues.
Staffing and logistics are perennial issues in the waste industry (especially with nationwide unemployment at relatively low levels), so it will be important for industry professionals to continue to plan for complicating factors. This is especially true when taking on new contracts or new service routes.