Last week, the Board of Aldermen extended the City’s contract with FW Russell for another year plus 5 more under a new contract despite concerns stemming from a 2-year-old investigation by AG Coakley’s office into the waste disposal company’s labor practices. The company was selected for offering the lowest price among 4 bids procured by the City this past year.
Only Alderman Gewirtz voted against the new 5 year contract based on concerns about the allegations which were reported first by the SN in this Jan 24, 2008 article. The law firm representing Teamsters Local 25 detailed the allegations in a Jan 25, 2008 letter to Mayor Curtatone published by the SJ. The letter states that “The Union has been informed that the investigation, assuming the Company cooperates, will not take longer than a few weeks.” Almost 2 years later, we still do not know the outcome nor when it will become available.
Oddly enough, local news reporters appear to have forgotten about the investigation in recent reports:
- In her Nov 9th article, Globe reporter Danielle Dreilinger only talked about accusations that the City has shown favoritism towards FW Russell and how it’s a non-union shop.
- In his Nov 18th article, SN writer Tom Nash only mentioned “lingering concerns raised by Ward 6 Alderman Rebekah Gewirtz about (FW Russell’s) labor practices.”
- In her Nov 19th article, SJ reporter Meghann Ackerman referred to Ald. Gewirtz’s concerns about “past disputes between Russell and Teamsters Local 25″. She also reported statements by City Solicitor Gannon about the city ordinance on prevailing wages and the union/non-union issue. Her article also addressed the concerns about the condition of the trucks.
These questions remain in my mind:
- What is the status of the AG’s investigation? And why is it taking so long to wrap this up?
- Why have all three local newspapers neglected to mention the investigation in recent reports?
- Why was Ald. Gewirtz the only one to take the allegations seriously enough to vote against the 5-year-contract?
- What is it about FW Russell that it can offer waste disposal service for $1 million less than its competitors?
- Why did only 4 out of 50 companies bid on the City’s contract? (see the Nov 9th Globe article)
- Is FW Russell receiving preferential treatment for the campaign contributions its principal, Kevin Douglas, has given to some of the Aldermen? Does this represent a conflict of interest? (see the Nov 18th SN article)
What do you think?