Congratulations on an accurate and well-written cover story, ["Dumped On," November 2000]. I must correct one error, however. Independent Waste Consultants consults for businesses anywhere in the country, not just franchised areas. Savings are achieved through waste audits and negotiation. We don't just change collection schedules. Such savings notably average over 50% in franchised areas vs. 28% in non-franchised.
Commercial franchises serve no purpose. The League of Cities, Association of Counties, and the National Solid Waste Management Association claim it's "better for the environment," "provides savings with efficiency" and/or "improves health and welfare." It doesn't. Clever taxation is the only reason for franchising. Waste salespeople such as Bob Hyers coach counties and municipalities through the legal processes required to author, specify, adopt and continue to use (often for decades) protected franchises. Haulers help create them. They're intimately involved from preliminary lobbying to the final award and are frequently involved in crafting ordinances. Haulers fight for years to start up and keep franchises.
Florida's problem is Statute 403. It was gutted in 1994, but a well-lobbied void has replaced it, ensuring that local governments can impose de facto flow control. Costs of over $20 per cubic yard for waste that should cost around $3 per yard is the result. Franchised rates are always higher than open market rates.
Hyers' comments regarding the recycling of a coffee cup illustrate the attitude of haulers and their government "partners." They avoid discussion of cost competition and the state's recycling laws since their interest is feeding landfills, fueling publicly subsidized waste-to-energy facilities and collecting their protected cut. In a competitive market, his statement would have been: "We're challenging everyone to recycle coffee cups and are working hard to lower costs." Haulers in franchised areas work hand-in-hand with code enforcement to discourage businesses from recycling. Should a business wish to recycle, it typically finds that it's forced to use a franchise hauler. In Sunrise, a Republic franchise, Florida's leading supermarket chain pays over $7,000 a month for waste removal at one store. In competitive areas, a similar store would pay about $1,300.
Independent Waste Consultants
The value of companies adding perks to retain key employees is a great idea ["Perking Up the Workplace," November 2000]. Motivation to stay with a company is really much bigger than just money.
But one key point critical to the success of such a program was completely missed in the article. What was missing? Asking the employees. If businesses don't take this first critical step, they could waste a lot of money and effort.
Something that works well for one company may fall flat for another company. Each company culture has its own personality and requires that owners provide the perks that truly interest staff. Something bosses are really excited about may not interest staff at all.
If owners follow the rule of "ask opinions first," it will enable them to add perks
wisely and meet the objective of retaining quality staff.
Thank you for your comments on the editor's page ["A Shift Toward Quality," November 2000]. You were able to articulate very clearly and concisely the feelings and opinions I have noticed since my election to the Bradenton City Council in 1998. I believe our community expects and deserves a more sophisticated approach to development, not only to protect our quality of life but also to give citizens the opportunity to believe in the credibility and trustworthiness of local government. Thank you for pointing out how this can benefit everyone, including the business community.
Vice mayor and Ward 2 councilwoman
City of Bradenton