Union alleges dirty politics in Fresno garbage votes
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Collecting garbage is a dirty business and the union representing Fresno City Garbage workers says so is the politics behind efforts to privatize it. "I think it's dirty. I think the city is being really dirty."
Marina Magdellano is Business Manager for Stationary Engineers Local 39. The Union is asking the Fresno City Attorney to investigate City Council Member Larry Westerlund, and outgoing Council Member Mike Dages and their relationship to a campaign consultant who also works for Allied Waste, one of the trash companies bidding for city business.
"It's a close relationship they've paid him a lot of money to run their campaigns," said Magdellano. "It's not clean and these two guys should have recused themselves from voting yes on this issue."
Both Dages and Westerlund have acknowledged employing consultant Mark Scozzari, but deny he influenced their votes last month to advance privatization, which they believe will earn the city $2.5 million a year.
The union also has questions about council member Lee Brand's decision to first recuse himself from voting on a matter relating to privatization, then deciding to vote on the issue.
"Why recuse yourself then, and not recuse yourself now, what changed." Magdelano asks.
Brand says because he owns and manages commercial property that would be affected by a change in garbage service he recused himself from the issue until he learned from the city attorney that he didn't' have a conflict.
"I did that, just to be safe to make sure as we went forward I would be in a position to have no conflict of interest." Brand said.
In order to pass, the privatization measure needs four votes. Brand, along with Westerlund and Council Member Andreas Borgeas are supporters of privatization. But Council Members Blong Xiong, and Clint Olivier are opposed.
"Unless I hear something new, I have no plan to change my mind." Olivier said.
Incoming council member Sal Quintero is also opposed, and incoming council member Oliver Baines is undecided.
Under the plan most of the affected city garbage workers would be offered jobs with the private companies, at lower pay and only for six months.
The City Council is expected to vote on the measure at their first meeting of the New Year on Thursday.NEWS BY LOCATION | ABC30 BLOGS | DISCUSSION FORUMS
BECOME A FAN ON FACEBOOK | FOLLOW ABC30 ON TWITTER
fresno, fresno county, fresno city council, larry westerlund, local, gene haagenson
- Fresno pot shop closes amid Action News investigation
- Fresno baby born on the way to Clovis Community
- 4 arrested after exchanging gunfire with police
- Authorities investigate a homicide in Fresno Co.
- Andy Vidak wins 16th State Senate District
- Former Bullard Star Taylor Gets Coaching Start at Kerman
- Valley students helping tornado-ravaged town of Moore
- Stand-up paddling is catching on
- FBI fatally shoots man in Boston bombing probe
- David Cameron: London attack could be terror
- Life or death? Jodi Arias jury deadlocked
- Family rocked by a violent tragedy finds comfort
- Crabtree may have a torn Achilles tendon
- Arsonist believed to be on the loose near Orange Cove