BFI on the hot seat
With the Summit County Attorney’s Office investigating whether BFI violated its contract by dumping recyclable material at the landfill, the County Commission Wednesday balked at approving a wage increase for the trash hauler’s employees.
The increase for cost of living would total about $33,000. BFI employees are entitled to the raise but commissioners delayed the decision this week in Coalville.
"I think it sends a symbolic message," Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer said.
Several Summit County residents have recently maligned Allied Waste Services, formerly BFI. They say the company doesn’t deserve its commercial and residential waste-hauling contract with the government.
However, according to Kevin Callahan, Summit County’s Public Works administrator, "they have a right to request a cost-of-living increase." County officials say they have evidence that a BFI driver dumped recyclable cardboard at Three Mile Canyon landfill last year and the company is expected to pay penalties.
According to Callahan, the County Attorney’s Office completed an investigation of BFI in December. Commissioners have reportedly asked company officials to suggest different penalties.
Summit County Attorney David Brickey says the situation is likely not a criminal matter.
To prevent recyclables from going to the dump in the future, BFI drivers might be required to document with Callahan what items are delivered to the company’s recycling center in Salt Lake County.
Meanwhile, BFI’s contract with Summit County expires this year and the County Commission this week delayed a decision about whether to extend the relationship to July 2007.
"We have anticipated maybe working out an extension of the contract," Callahan said.
But bad publicity could affect whether BFI’s relationship with the county continues long term, he said, adding that the company was asked to seriously consider how taxpayers should be compensated if the contract was violated. — Patrick Parkinson
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