RED BANK: TRASH SURVEY SPLITS COUNCIL
A screenshot of the council meeting on Wednesday evening. (Zoom screenshot. Click to enlarge.)
BY JOHN T. WARD
A poll on garbage and recycling on Wednesday evening became the latest wedge between two factions of the Red Bank’s one-party council.
The dispute included allusions to the fact that city councilor Ed Zipprich could not be trusted to keep information secret from bidders in the upcoming award of a garbage disposal contract.
The split was opened during the council’s monthly online workshop session when Councilor Michael Ballard asked when councilors could see the results of the poll, conducted from late July to identify residents’ needs and preferences regarding waste collection.
Company administrator Ziad Shehady said the raw data had not been summarized in a report but would be presented to the council along with the responses to the upcoming tender.
“I don’t want the results to be published,” said Shehady. “That can have an impact on bidders’ bid sizes if they know how there is a preference” from the council. “
Shehady said the survey will be released “as soon as the offers are received”.
“It would be a best practice to be as safe as possible, especially given everything we’ve discussed here,” said Attorney Greg Cannon.
Ballard and Zipprich, however, urged that the information be communicated to the council earlier.
“I mean, it’s been two months and we haven’t seen anything,” Ballard said.
“You will see after the offers are received,” said Mayor Pasquale Menna.
Zipprich said he found it “amazing” that taxpayers’ money was being spent on a survey that even the council couldn’t see before making a decision.
“Well, we don’t want councilors to allow bidders to see this information,” said councilor Erik Yngstrom.
Yngstrom alluded to another simmering split: whether Zipprich had “interfered” in the then pending tendering process to select a waste transport company for a new three-year contract in early August and possibly “sabotaged” this, as Shehady claimed in internal emails.
No bids were received and emails with the allegations were forwarded to red bank green.
“As far as I know, nobody interfered,” said Zipprich. “And I think the offer is just from the survey in terms of the district’s garbage habits.”
“We’ll get it,” said Yngstrom of the poll results. “I just don’t understand why we need her this minute.
“I agree with Z. Given the history of this entire process, I don’t want to do anything to really affect any type of commandments,” said Yngstrom.
Zipprich said the information would help the council in its decision
“You will have that before you make your decision,” said Menna. “Nobody will withhold it from you.”
“Oh, come on, Mayor, it is now withheld from us,” answered Zipprich.
“You have been known to care a lot about what’s going on with trash,” Triggiano said.
“You received an answer,” Councilor Kathy Horgan told Zippich and Ballard.
“The information is withheld,” said Zipprich. “It’s not transparent.”
“We know you are very interested,” said Triggiano again.
“With pleasure, yes,” said Menna.
“We care a lot about the people who have just re-elected us,” said Zipprich.
“Like us,” said Triggiano. “Just because you speak louder doesn’t mean you care more. Let us continue.”
“No, let’s not go on,” Ballard replied as Menna started discussing the next issue. “Councilor, that was rude. I have an opinion … “
“We’re going on,” said Menna.
On Tuesday, Zipprich, who is also the chairman of the local Democratic Party, was elected to a fifth term and Ballard to a second. They ran unhindered. At the beginning of the meeting, Menna congratulated Ballard and Zipprich on their re-election.
However, none of the other council members interfered. Alderman Hazim Yassin, who also disagreed with Ballard and Zipprich, was absent.
No action for an obvious compromise solution was mentioned
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