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Miramar Landfill Update

To All ESD Employees:

After e-blasting the video of MEA General Manager Mike Zucchet addressing the City Council’s Natural Resources Committee two weeks ago, we received a number of requests for an update on the Mayor’s process with respect to his intention to outsource the Miramar Landfill.

As you know, after a significant public splash last year when the Mayor’s intentions were first announced, including the initiation of meet-and-confer with MEA, over the last several months the process has reverted to a strictly closed-door internal process in the Mayor’s office.

As Mike reported to you during various site visits with employees at Miramar and Ridgehaven over the last several months, MEA has used this time to diligently explore every legal, financial, and operational angle that could be used to help ensure that Miramar Landfill operations stay where they belong–under the care of City employees.  We joined forces with the Center on Policy Initiatives, Sierra Club, community groups and others in a coalition that has been effective in getting the word out about the significant downsides of outsourcing the landfill.  We have also exhaustively studied the cash inflows and outflows at the landfill and the Refuse Disposal Fund, and developed a financial analysis that we intend to use to demonstrate the true value of Miramar’s operations.

Recall that when the Mayor’s office first announced its intention to outsource the landfill, there was talk about completing the RFP process, selecting a bidder, and getting a City Council vote before last November.  It is now February 18 and as far as we know the Mayor has not yet even selected a bidder and has therefore not begun the negotiation process, both of which are prerequisites to even beginning the City Council approval (or rejection) process.  So the bottom line is that this process still has many months (at least) to go before there is any final decision by the City Council.

As the months drag on, the uncertainty for employees can be torturous.  But keep in mind that this significantly longer timeline–much longer than the Mayor’s office originally predicted–is likely good news.  The privatization of the Miramar landfill has consistently been argued to be “low hanging fruit” by people like Councilmember Carl DeMaio.  If it is such a no-brainer, why is every internal City deadline missed?  All we can do is speculate because the City remains mum on the topic.  But every day, week, and month that goes by is probably a good sign for the ultimate outcome–from our perspective–of the effort to outsource Miramar.

As we said, the uncertainty hanging over all of our heads stinks.  But hang in there.  MEA has confidently communicated to you from the very beginning that our best judgment is that this ordeal will end well for ESD employees who work at Miramar or whose position is funded by the City’s Refuse Disposal Fund.  Nothing has happened to change that assessment.

We will continue to provide you with updates as they become available.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact MEA at 619-264-6632.