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Recology Eyes Coastside Scavenger; City Council Gives It the Sniff Test



Recology, formerly known as Norcal Waste, is negotiating to buy the assets of Coastside Scavenger, and has submitted a $100,000 check to the City of Pacifica for an "assignment fee" in connection with the transfer. According to the City Council meeting agenda for October 19: "The final acquisition (of Coastside Scavenger) is conditioned, among other things, upon the successful assignment of the existing solid waste franchise agreement between the City and Coastside to Recology."

Coastside Scavenger "has been delinquent in its payment of franchise fees, and has been notified that the company is in default," according to the city's document. Consulting firm HFH is being recommended at a cost of $55,000 "to provide the city with support in analyzing and negotiating the assignment request with Recology." The consultant's budget has been reduced considerably from the last known city request. Coastside Scavenger had bounced checks to the city and also, it was alleged in a lawsuit, to employees.

In a letter to Pacifica City Manager Steve Rhodes dated October 7, 2009, Coastside Scavenger owner Louis Picardo wrote: "Just a note to say I have no problem with the assignment of the contract to RECOLOGY. I am currently negotiating the purchase price of the Company with them." Coastside Scavenger has been the only waste collection company servicing Pacifica for more than 50 years. The fate of Coastside's employee base in this transfer is unknown. City Council met again October 26 to discuss this item, and we await reports on the outcome of the meeting.


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I just want single stream recycling - that's not too much to ask for. We pay top dollar for less than adequate services, certainly not what neighboring cities are getting for less. The City of Pacifica is talking about furloughs and layoffs of City employees, and Coastside still owes franchise fees. Let's hope the Council will not keep looking the other way as the City gets ripped off. Remember the overcharges - and the way we were repaid for those overcharges? Coastside ONLY raised our rates 8%, that was our restitution. Isn't anyone else tired of this? The last contract was extended to 2012, with the promise that this extention would help Coastside with the security they needed to make capital improvements, etc. I still have the same crappy bins, blowing paper all over my street every Thursday. Please, Pacifica City Council, advocate for us to have better services, and let this go to a competitive RFP process. Coastside is in default. (Again, WHY do we pay THE MOST of any city around...are we that unique??)

Anyone who has ever been involved in a takeover, whether friendly or hostile, knows that jobs are never secure. The company taking over, in this case Recology, will of course say, "Your job is safe." They do not want people bailing until they can get things running smoothly.

I would expect that some positions will be eliminated because of duplication. Drivers and route people will probably be safe, but you have to ask yourself why Recology would need two sets of office staff.

I expect changes to happen, just not tomorrow.

I've heard from a Coastside Scavenger employee that they will keep their jobs.

Although given the problems Coastside's had with book-keeping, it wouldn't be a bad idea if Recology's accountants took over Coastside's books ASAP.

I am excited that a new company is coming in. It is a growing, environmentally friendly company that I hope can take care of our community. My only concern is Coastside employees. I hope they get to keep their jobs. Most of them are local and it would be very sad to see these families suffer. I hope this will be beneficial not only for Pacifica but for loyal Coastside employees.

A couple questions as this sale and the assignment of the agreement is decided.
Are Pacifica residents still going to pay the highest rate for solid waste collection (from SF to San Jose) without any modern curbside services?
Will the City COouncil still continue to pursue the RFP at the end of the Coastside contract, as promised?

I can't make the council meeting tonight--I hope someone will report what goes on with this very important transition.
It's possible that the existing contract is what will continue under the new hauler, or that some conditions could be changed.
I also hope that the council does its best to protect the workers' jobs, at least for this interim period. They are not responsible for the company being run into the ground.

This sounds like a perfect retirement plan for Mr. Picardo. The "deferred" franchise fees, I would guess, reduce his final payment price? Or does he get rewarded for skipping those fees altogether? The service has been mediocre, at best, in my 22 years in Pacifica. I can only hope that the recycle yard might show a bit of attitude adjustment, for the better.

Hopefully we can get curbside compost pickup, just like San Francisco, San Carlos and other cities. This would be a nobrainer for reducing greenhouse gases generated by Pacificans.

I don't know how I feel about a company, especially a solid waste company that has Reco (pronounced Rico) in its title. We don't know what our rates will be, the franchise percentage, or if Recology will get the guaranteed 8% over cost profit.

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