Dear Neighbors -
The OPRA (Open Public Records Act request I made to release the results of the publicly funded garbage study has been denied in perpetuity. See attached for details.
While Business Administrator Ziad "Z" Shehady has decided to cover up the survey results, my research did confirm two facts:
1. Mr. Shehady decided to do a survey on reducing our garbage pickup without discussing any cost benefit analysis with the Mayor and Council
2. Mr. Shehady decided to do a survey on reducing our garbage pick up without conducting any research on what impact a reduction would have on our health and quality of life, particularly during a pandemic.
Regarding the failed Sanitation Request for Bids, I spoke with several garbage collection vendors to assess why the bid Mr. Shehady wrote failed. The unanimous reason cited by experts in the field (with more than 65 collective years experience), was that the bid spec was so “poorly designed” no contractor would take on the enormous risks Mr. Shehady’s spec demanded.
Specifically, the spec required the successful bidder to expose their company to hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential losses due to increased tipping fees for single stream recycle, something no sane business owner was willing to do. See attached for details.
The spec further demanded the successful bidder maintain a fleet of trucks less than five years old, to supply containers to residences and business that already have their own containers, to collect brush from our streets with a 6” diameter, (the law requires such brush to be 3” diameter) and to collect “white goods” (i.e. domestic appliances). Currently, Red Bank collects our own brush and white goods.
While the experts I spoke with assured me that reaching out to experts for their advice when designing a bid spec is considered a best practice, Mr. Shehady vigorously opposed any input into the bid he wrote. This failed bid is only the second sanitation bid he’s ever created.
Suspiciously, his Red Bank bid spec seems to include a lot of the requirements included in the bid spec he wrote for Springfield NJ. According to the people I spoke with, it was those changes and additions that caused the bid to fail.
Obviously, Red Bank is not Springfield. Our needs are completely different. And as one of the experts said to me, “If he didn’t know what he was doing, all he had to do was ask. This is what we do for a living. Any of us would have been happy to help, but he thinks he knows everything, and won’t listen to anyone."
I think it’s important to add that several of the people I spoke with have such a viscerally negative response to Mr. Shehady’s business practices they refuse to interact with him. If they cannot deal with Borough Hall employees, they told me, they would rather not deal with Red Bank at all.
I have spent considerable time looking into all of this, but unfortunately, I see no similar initiative on the part of the “Z-Pack” on council.
Rather than question the obvious failures of Mr. Shehady’s regime, councilpersons Triggiano, Yassin, Horgan and Yngstrom continue to blindly support his ineptitude and blame others (like me!), for daring to question him — or them.
Because of Mr. Shehady’s inexperience and incompetence, we are now paying 100% of our tipping fees, (Mr. Shehady sought to pay zero), and we are on the hook for an additional $10k a month until a successful bid spec is created.
Here’s what I was told the new bid should do:
1. Change the bid spec to 100% reimbursement of tipping fees
2. Remove the brush pick up requirement
3. Remove the white goods requirement
4. Remove the ’new truck’ requirement (already covered in our current contract, in that we have the option to demand any truck the town deems unacceptable to be removed from our streets and a new one deployed.)
I am assured by the people who know what they’re talking about that if Red Bank can accomplish these changes, we should be able to secure a sanitation vendor that is within our means.
Only a huge, national contractor would have been able to fulfill the current bid, at a cost, I was told, that would be beyond a municipality of our size to pay.
One more thing about this so-called “bid-rigging”— as a vendor laughingly said to me, “I read about that and it’s ridiculous. Z slanted those specs towards a huge, national vendor, and none of them even bid!"
The bid spec got ZERO responses because Business Administrator Ziad Shehady doesn’t know how to ask for help, work with professionals, or do the job he’s been hired to do. Incompetence seems to be his greatest asset and it’s costing Red Bank our tax money, our reputation and our quality of life.
Surely, my neighbors, we can do better.