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Republic Meet With Selectmen About Recycling Service

by Matt Ristaino
June 19, 2018

With the lack of recycling pick-up an ongoing issue throughout town, representatives from Republic Services, the company contracted for trash and recycling pick-up, attended the Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday.

Nick Stefkovich and Dan Higgins spoke with the selectmen about what Republic is doing to solve the problems with the recycling pick-up and answered questions from several residents. The overall sense was that Republic is working to fix the issues as best they can, but they need to overcome a number of challenges within the company to do so.

Nick Stefkovich (left) and Dan Higgins (right)

“I know we’ve caused an inconvenience to the town, and it’s frustrating,” said Stefkovich.

Stefkovich outlined several issues that Republic has been dealing with recently that are possible causes of the disruption in service. Truck reliability issues, driver and staff shortages, lack of technicians, and management and leadership issues at the company have all contributed to the problem.  

“I was embarrassed that, as a company, we haven’t been able to bring the resources to bear to fulfill our contract,” Stefkovich said. “We ought to be able to do that, and we don’t have any good excuses.”

Stefkovich made it clear that Republic is working to fix the problems as quickly as they can with the resources they do have. Republic has brought in drivers, staffers, and equipment from elsewhere in the company to this region to bolster service.

However, this is only a temporary fix, and it is not without its own problems. Stefkovich said that the new drivers being brought into the area may not know the routes as well as they should, leading them to not realize that they missed a pick-up.

“That’s not their fault,” said Stefkovich of this particular issue. “That’s leadership’s fault.”

Higgins said that Republic is now checking in with drivers during the day to make sure that they are running on schedule and fully completing their routes.

Republic will be adding 11 trucks to their fleet by the fall, plus another five by next summer, according to Stefkovich. It is also accelerating recruitment of drivers and technicians and instituting changes in compensation to make the positions more appealing.

These more permanent solutions will take some time to go into effect, but Stefkovich said the resources that Republic is bringing into town right now will help get service back on track.

“The problems now are more an issue of execution rather than resources,” he said. “We now have the resources to do the work.”

Several residents at the meeting spoke to the Republic representatives about their specific concerns.

Aislinn Weaver said that, despite multiple phone calls and assurances from Republic that her recycling would be picked up, her home has been missed six weeks in a row.

“It’s very frustrating when you call and nobody comes,” she said to Stefkovich and Higgins. “No matter how many phone calls we make, our stuff doesn’t get picked up. It feels like we’re being lied to, and we’re all sick of it.”

George Johnson said that he has concerns about a disconnect between customer service representatives, who are across the country, and the actual situation here in town. Carl Damigella said that the Holliston Pantry Shelf’s recycling dumpster is overflowing and hasn’t been emptied in weeks.

Jay Leary said that he wants to have more consistent communication between Republic and residents.

“When you know you’re going to have a problem, you need to communicate that and let us know,” he said.

Selectman Jay Marsden said that he wants to have weekly communication with Republic to stay updated on its service and its progress on fixing the issues at hand, which Higgins agreed to.

Holliston’s contract with Republic is up one year from now, and Marsden made it clear that the town will be sure to evaluate all its options when it comes time to renew the contract.

“I’ve got the message,” said Stefkovich, “and I understand we’re fighting for our jobs here. If we don’t do our job, I’d expect you to hire someone else.”


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Comments (5)

FYI: I just looked up Republics job listings. They are not looking for drivers anywhere in this area. They are lying and just giving lip service. Time to look for a new trash pickup provider.

- Sharon Burkhardt | 6/21/18 8:16 AM

There needs to be a contact # for Holliston for people with Friday pick-up. By the time we notice it didn't get picked up on Friday afternoon it is too late everyone at town hall is long gone, and there is nobody around on Saturday as well to contact. The town should seriously consider rotating pick-up days

- John Finneran | 6/19/18 4:24 PM

If I ran my company like this one is run I would be out of business... and so should they.. The selectman need to STEP IT UP, fire the company and hire a new one.... we pay for this service, that we are clearly not getting... lets take a poll.... how many selectman are not getting the service they deserve???? bet all of them get their trash picked up, and probably have clear water to boot... mad, beyond mad

- should be fired | 6/19/18 11:58 AM

What changed after December 2017? We had flawless trash and recycling pickup before that. At some point after that, we started missing (only recycling) pickups. Trash pickups continued to be reliable. Now, I feel bad if Republic is having management and/or equipment issues, but that's not my problem. That's theirs. I hope the town will write a (reasonable) penalty clause into the next contract they make with these amateurs, because they should be paying us for this kind of incompetence...as it is, we're paying *them*.

- Peter Simpson | 6/19/18 11:47 AM

I'm furious.

- Ron Karkovice | 6/19/18 5:58 AM



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