Councilman says Red River breached contract, city issues more fines

The $92,800 fine was issued to Red River for June after more than 2,000 people complained their trash or recycling wasn't picked up on their scheduled day.

Posted: Aug 8, 2018 11:14 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - The city of Fort Wayne fined Red River Waste Solutions for more missed pick ups.

The $92,800 fine was issued for June after more than 2,000 people complained their trash or recycling wasn't picked up on their scheduled day.

Red River 2018 Fines

January - $0

February - $0

March - $0

April - $14,700

May - $63,950

June - $92,800

 

Republic Service 2017 fines

January - $2,950

February - $700

March - $1,700

April - $1,200

June - $17,500

July - $22,250

August - $10,30

September - $11,350

October - $9,300

November - $7,4500

December - $9,150

The continued poor service is why councilman Russ Jehl is working on formally declaring Red River breached their contract.

"They collect our fees, but do not pick up our garbage. That is a substantial material breach of contract," Jehl said.

In June 2017, Republic Services, who held the city contract as National Serv-All for 20 years, was fined $17,500.

Now Red River's fines exceed $157,000 in 2018.

On June 1, Red River failed to collect 318 trash cans from Fort Wayne residents.

Red River vice president of business development Steve Smith said those numbers don't tell the whole story.

"We know that legally we are not in breach of contract, but the public has only received partial measurements which are relevant aspects of our performance. The number of missed calls are less than 1% of the total collections each week," he said in a statement.

In early June, Smith had told FOX 55 the company was making significant changes and was hiring more people.

As of Wednesday, Red River had three open positions in Fort Wayne, but Smith said city council's public frustrations don't help.

"As council members become more willing to express their personal and adverse opinions publicly, Red River finds it more difficult to
recruit and retain employees," Smith's statement added.

Jehl said the city should look at every option to resolve the issue.

"We should begin legal proceedings, we should try to tap the performance bond so we can get a third party contractor to pick up the garbage they are missing," he said.

Trash is collected from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., anyone whose trash isn't collected on their scheduled day during that time should call 311 to report it.

You can see Red River's record by day on the city's Red River Performance Dashboard.

Red River's full statement:
Red River Waste Solutions Counters Breach Allegations
FORT WAYNE – Red River Waste Solutions is receiving unwarranted negative attention based on
allegations from members of Fort Wayne's City Council suggesting the company is in breach of
contract. This type of public claim not only damages Red River's reputation but also affects their
relationship with the community and their employees.

"Whether or not an opinionated performance assessment should be considered appropriate evidence
against us is not the current issue. We know that legally we are not in breach of contract, but the public
has only received partial measurements which are relevant aspects of our performance. The number of
missed calls are less than 1% of the total collections each week. The total of calls this year are 18,000
out of 3,412,000 collections. Although, it is not where we want to be when all of the routes are tweaked
and balanced; it is not as far off as being portrayed," said Steve Smith, Vice President of Business
Development.

Smith said that when Red River took over the contract from Republic Services, even after 20 years of
service with Republic, the City of Fort Wayne had no route data to provide to Red River. Instead Red
River implemented the latest waste industry onboard technology and designed the routing system from
scratch. As with any new process, there are limitations at first. The downside is that it takes time to
perfect the process and get employees trained/retrained. Week over week data must be analyzed and put
into planning operationally. Adjustments have been and will continue to be made as they progress
forward.

Allegations of breach are inflammatory and these inaccurate or unfair news portrayals have the intention
to mislead the residents and employees to distrust the company. As council members become more
willing to express their personal and adverse opinions publicly, Red River finds it more difficult to
recruit and retain employees.

Yet, these unfortunate setbacks have not faltered the company. Red River's team works diligently to
provide the service the citizens of Fort Wayne desire and deserve. Currently, the company has three
positions available, and continues to offer competitive wages, sign on bonuses, retention bonuses and
tonnage bonuses to their employees.

Another deceptive point that has been made by council members in multiple news stories is Red River
refusing to give any rebate or refund to the customers. The truth is Red River does not charge or bill the
customers, the City does. Therefore, Red River cannot provide a refund or rebate. To make claims
suggesting otherwise only clouds the issue even further.

"We listen to and review all the resident's grievances provided by the City. To be effective, it is
essential to evaluate each call separately to determine what is working and what areas to improve to
reduce the call volume. We have successfully completed over 250 diverse government service contracts
located in the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and Guam, and we currently operate effectively in six
different states. We have no doubt that we'll do whatever it takes to provide the citizens of Fort Wayne
the service they rightfully expect and deserve"

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