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Latrobe rejects low trash bidder

| Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 8:40 p.m.

Latrobe City Council rejected the apparent low bid for a new trash-hauling contract, as well as rate increases for the transfer station.

With a 3-4 vote that met with scattered applause from the public, council members decided against accepting the lowest bidder for the contract. Councilmen Richard Jim, Fabian Giovannagelo and Robert Forish voted for the measure; Michael Skapura, Ken Baldonieri, Rosie Wolford and Mayor Barbara Griffith voted against.

They were considering two bids for a five-year contract combining garbage collection and residential recycling, in addition to operating the transfer station at 696 Mission Road.

Advanced Disposal of Brockway was the apparent low bidder at $13.6 million, consisting of $6.4 million for the first five years and $7.1 million for the next five option years.

Allied Waste Services of Scottdale, the city's current hauler, proposed a $14.5 million contract consisting of $6.8 million for the first five years and $7.7 million for another five-year option.

Representatives for both bidders spoke at the meeting and differed about the significance of a $16,000 mathematical error in the financial breakdown of the bid and the difference in specifications from Advanced Disposal.

Councilwoman Rosie Wolford said she disagreed with contracting the operation of the transfer station, regardless of the specifications of the bids.

“The problem that I have isn't with how these bids were done and what they bid on,” she said. “The problem I have is the whole structure of what we're trying to do here.”

Donald Griner, representative for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents about 15 city employees, argued that council did not meet with the union for any negotiations before considering the contracts, which could have affected seven employees of the transfer station.

He quoted the National Labor Relations Act, which states that when any subcontracting is sought, the employer must seek out and announce its intention to the union, provide the union with all relevant information and negotiate prior to accepting any contract.

“None of these things have happened. What did happen was we received no formal notice. What happened was we came to you after we heard it through the grapevine,” he said.

A meeting was scheduled with City Manager Alex Graziani and the refuse collection committee on May 30, but only Graziani and one council member attended.

Prior to the vote, Jim made a motion to table it until a council meeting following negotiations with a union representative, but that died for lack of a second.

Solicitor Jim Kelly said council must now vote on whether to reject both bids, because it already rejected the apparent low bidder.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or sfederoff@tribweb.com.

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