Solid waste collection frustrations being addressed

By Gary Clough - Guest columnist

Frustration is defined as the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of inability to change or achieve something. Lately, an increased number of city residents have shared their frustration with the solid waste collection services provided by the city’s contractor Republic Services due to a decline in those service levels. Those calls, messages and social media comments have not gone unnoticed and city staff members have been working with Republic to identify the root of the issues.

First, Republic Services, as an employer, is not immune to human resource cycle of recruiting, hiring, developing and the eventual termination of employees. As a matter of fact, the company recently faced the retirement of two valued, long-term employees who serviced the Sidney community. In addition, three of their long-term drivers are currently on extended leaves of absence for various reasons.

Republic Services does have several part-time employees covering Sidney routes, but those drivers are not as familiar with the city’s collections routes and this has resulted in missed collections.

In addition, like most employers, Republic Services has found that recruiting and retaining employees in a remarkably tight job market is extremely difficult. With unemployment rates at historic lows, it means anyone who wants a job already has one or could easily get one. Add to the fact that solid waste collection is not the most glamorous of jobs, recruitment of the right employees becomes all that more difficult.

Republic Services continues to actively recruit reliable candidates for open positions through job fairs and other avenues. In addition, they, like many employers, have increased starting wages and are implementing bonuses.

To compound the employment issue and recent uptick in equipment failures, is the federal mandate from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that dictates short-haul drivers, including garbage truck drivers, must return to their starting location within 12 hours of starting work. Most of the drivers that service the Sidney community start their day in Bellefontaine at 5:30 a.m.; therefore, after factoring in the commute time, there have been times that the drivers have not been able to complete a full route because they must be back in Bellefontaine by 5:30 p.m., resulting again in missed collections.

It is important that community members report missed collections to the city’s revenue collection department at 937-498-8115 or via the form on our website: Missed collections cannot be addressed, if they are not reported. Service order requests for missed collections help Republic spot areas to address and use the missed collections as training to improve their customer service level.

Residents are also encouraged to download the city’s free Recycle Coach app to help track solid waste collection schedules. A link is available to download the app on our Solid Waste page:

While the explanations provided in this article will not remedy past frustrations, I hope it does help to explain why there has been a decrease in service levels and what efforts are being made to resolve those issues to bring the level of service back to its expected levels. Both the city and Republic Services thank the community for its continued patience as the service levels difficulties are resolved.

By Gary Clough

Guest columnist

Clough is the city of Sidney’s assistant city manager the director of public works.

Clough is the city of Sidney’s assistant city manager the director of public works.