Employees working overtime to tackle trash - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Employees working overtime to tackle trash

January 7, 2004

Albany - City garbage collectors are working longer hours, more days a week to make sure your trash is picked up. They're having to work overtime after Onyx Waste backed out of its contract with the city which left Public Works scrambling to handle the extra customers.

Its was an early start to a very long day for Antwuan Cheeks. "We clock in at 6:30AM, and leave after 5:00PM each day," said Cheeks.

The city's Solid Waste employees are working 10 hour days, 6 days a week to collect garbage. "I'm here to do a job, so I just do the best I can," said Cheeks.

Last month, Onyx Waste Services unexpectedly quit after their contract wasn't renewed. The city had to take on thousands of customers. "We added an additional 13 none Solid Waste Public Works employees and 18 inmates to the west side garbage collection," said Public Works Director Phil Roberson.

Roberson says inmates are helping pick up trash and employees are working 20 hours of overtime each week to make sure your service isn't slowed. "We household waste collection day will stay the same in both east and west Albany and we hope to collection the yard waste twice a month," said Roberson. "But, it's a variable that we not aware of yet. We're not sure how well we're going to do with this hodge-podge of equipment picking this stuff up."

So far, the city has stayed on schedule. And, workers say they don't mind the extra day of work or pay. "It will help out after the holidays," said Cheeks.

Roberson says the overtime isn't hurting the city's budget either. "We not having to pay the private contractor, so that money will go to pay the employee overtime and other expenses we incur over this two month period."

The 6 day weeks will last two months. On March 1st, Trans Waste will take over garbage collection on the city's west side, and trash collection will be back to normal. When Trans Waste comes onboard, your garbage bill will go up $2.50 a month.

Posted at 4:40PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com