Palmer Suggests Metro Services Group Routes Be Redistributed

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After a City Council Public Works Committee meeting Tuesday at which Metro Services Group owner Jimmie Woods proposed short and long-term solutions for his company’s failure to timely collect household waste from neighborhoods predominately in Gentilly and New Orleans East, Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer who is running for Council At Large, issued a statement that the City “move forward with holding Metro accountable for its lack of sanitation services for New Orleans residents.”  

She further urged the City to determine whether other sanitation collection contractors have the capacity to take on Metro’s service area. “Because…we need a solid waste provider who will complete the work they’re hired to do,” Palmer said in a prepared statement.  

“Enough is enough.” Palmer claims that Metro Service Group is violating its contract with the City by allowing trash to go uncollected. Per their contract, Metro is not allowed to stop collecting waste without City approval, says Palmer. “The City has not given Metro permission to stop trash collection. And we’re paying the company millions to provide curbside solid waste collection.”

Palmer says the City has received thousands of complaints from residents about their rotten trash sitting outside of their homes breeding maggots from food thrown out of the refrigerators in the weeks after Hurricane Ida. “It’s gross and it’s a public health risk. And once again, the City is footing the bill to address Metro’s failures.” Palmer said the City has given Metro months to address this issue and the company hasn’t figured out a way to provide critical services.

Due to staffing issues brought on in part by low wages, Metro has been behind in collecting household waste for several months. Hurricane Ida only made matters worse for thousands of Metro’s already-exasperated customers. At today’s City Council meeting Metro’s leader Jimmie Woods announced they were bringing in additional manpower and equipment to help them catch up with the backlog and would take whatever measures necessary to rebuild and maintain an adequate base of employees.

It probably would not be possible for the City to redistribute Metro’s route at this time. All the available trash providers are working at maximum capacity and the City has experienced difficulty in hiring additional firms through emergency procurement efforts. It is not yet known what language might exist in Metro’s contract to allow the City to terminate the contract with cause. Metro is midway through a seven-year contract negotiated by Mayor Mitch Landrieu after Hurricane Katrina.

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