City Councilmen outline garbage plan, urge leadership from the Mayor


Today, Fort Wayne City Councilman Jehl held a briefing calling for the Mayor to take immediate action to stabilize the current garbage collection service.

News release from Fort Wayne City Councilman Russ Jehl:

Councilman Russell Jehl outlines garbage collection plan amid crisis, urges leadership from Mayor

Fort Wayne, Indiana (February 4, 2022) – Councilman Jehl, joined by Councilman Tom Didier, held a briefing today calling for the Mayor to take immediate action to stabilize the current trash collection service that has devolved into chaos. Although City officials have expressed a desire to change service providers later in the year, no transition plan has been communicated publicly, and garbage has continued to pile up throughout the City.

Jehl laid out an actionable transition plan:

  • An honest assessment of capabilities – Conduct an honest assessment of the current trash collection capabilities of the contractor and city staff. Two weeks ago the community was told by Solid Waste that by the end of the week they would be caught up. Two weeks later they are, at minimum, four days behind, with many people waiting well over a week for service.
  • Stop Making Excuses, Make Service Adjustments – Likely, the honest assessment will show the combined efforts of Red River and the City cannot pick up all the garbage and recycling on time. Rather than continuing to expect the broken system to work, it is necessary to temporarily reduce curbside recycling to once a month and focus on picking up the garbage on time.
  • Reset the System – With a realistic and honest plan in place that is scaled to existing capabilities, the system should be reset with a reliable schedule. The schedule is presently so off, it is not a schedule at all.
  • Put the full resources of the City to work – The 3-1-1 system is broken and is no longer able to address the other needs of the community due to overwhelming trash calls. Solid Waste cannot keep track of aging misses. Provide administrative assistance and staffing from other areas within Publc Works or other departments to ease the load and service the residents.
  • Ensure misses do not go past a week – With helping 3-1-1 and Solid Waste with additional resources, ensure that at no point does any resident go more than a week without trash pick up.

This plan must include a triage system prioritizing trash collection, bringing all available City resources to bear, ensuring misses do not extend into weeks. Said Councilman Jehl, “It’s time to quit pretending and to be honest. The combined efforts of Red River and the City cannot pick up all the garbage and recycling. Tough decisions need to be made now, not later this year. Red River is not the only barrier to getting the garbage picked up, it is the City’s leadership vacuum.”

Said Councilman Didier, “Communication is key here. We need honest answers from the Mayor, including regular status and performance updates.” Continued Councilman Jehl, “The crisis will not work itself out, and we cannot proceed without a policy change and definite focus. No one but the Mayor can fix this. It is not ‘patience’ that this community needs, it is leadership. It is time to lead, Mr. Mayor.”

Councilman Jehl implores that the Mayor outline his own transition plan, incorporating these action steps, before the State of the City address.

The City may be in a bind, but many actionable options remain. Continued chaos for the next six months cannot be the plan.

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