Thursday, July 22, 2021

Staffing shortages stalling Romulus trash pick-ups

Members of the Romulus City Council addressed the numerous complaints regarding residential trash pick up during their July 12 meeting.

Romulus Department of Public Works Director Roberto Scappaticci spoke to the council members and acknowledged the high volume of complaints regarding late or missed trash pick up in the city. He explained that the city trash hauler, Republic Waste Management, was experiencing a labor shortage and was impacted by the amount of rubbish and trash taken to curbs for pickup as a result of the recent flooding throughout the area.

Scappaticci introduced Republic Management official Keith Pine to the council members for a more comprehensive explanation of the difficulties residents have been experiencing.

Pine, a 33-year veteran of Waste Management, said that he had been personally responsible for the Romulus area for 15 years, “so I take it very personally.”

He said Scappaticci was correct in that the trash hauler had been inundated trying to remove debris from homes following the recent flood, but that a labor shortage also impacted the business.

“We are doing everything in our power to hire. We have increased wages, we offer free college to all employees, benefits from day on, tuition reimbursement,” he said. “We have had our yard in Romulus for 25 years. We are part of this community. We're not going anywhere,” he said.

He acknowledged that pick-ups have been missed or late, but said with a number of new hires, some still in training, pick-ups should now be only 24-hours late, if not on time.

In response to a question from Councilwoman Kathy Abdo, he explained that residents should leave the trash and debris at the curb if it is not picked up at the regular time.

“If people put the trash at the curb and it isn't picked up, leave it, and we will get there,” he said. 

Pine said the company recently hired eight new drivers and have four more in the hiring process. “We have a lot of employees and we fought to keep them,” he said.  He explained, too, that in light of the current issue with so much flooding damage, larger items can also be put at the curb for pickup.

“We will pick it up with the regular trash,” Pine said. “It would be nice if residents could call and let us know in advance, but we will pick it up.” 

Pine said he would supply phone numbers and QR codes to the city so that details of the delays and scheduling could be publicized on the city website and social media.