Bulky trash pickup can mean bulky overtime payouts

Bulky trash in Aiea.
Bulky trash in Aiea.

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

AIEA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some homeowners in Aiea and Makakilo have started complaining about bulky trash items not getting picked up. Crews have fallen behind schedule but some question if there is a bigger problem at work.

Bulky trash pickup can be delayed for various reasons, including the holidays, weather, slowdowns at the landfill and staffing and equipment issues, but it's how the city makes up for those delays that's raising concerns.

Bulky waste in Aiea has been sitting out for the past nine days and homeowners began wondering what's the hold up?

"Actually this morning I was debating ok if it's out another few days does that mean next month? Do I have to haul it back in my house?" said Lorna Fan, Aiea Homeowner.

The Pearl City yard scrapped together a crew after they finished picking up the trash bins. Two trucks were parked on a side street and the drivers jumped on the back of the bulky trash truck and got to work.

"We use what we have, normally it's okay," said Joe Serrao, who has worked for the city collecting rubbish the past 31 years.  "We try to do the best we can."

In addition to the garbage the workers will also collect overtime, some allegedly get tons of it.

"One individual in the Pearl City yard will be making in excess of $120,000 due to overtime and regular pay for hauling trash and picking up bulky items," said Carroll Cox, EnviroWatch.

It's something Cox has been monitoring the past year.

"This is fraudulent in my opinion. There's no other way to describe it," said Cox.

We spoke with a refuse administrator with the city.  He admits bulky waste collection isn't where it needs to be and they do pay overtime to catch up.  He also says two city surveys show it's more cost effective to pay out overtime than it is to hire more full time workers.  He also says the system is as efficient as it's going to get until the next H-power boiler opens a year and a half from now, which will give them another place to take all the waste.

Something else to think about, Honolulu has a new bulky trash law but will people still be ticketed if the city crews don't come to pick it up on time and it's still out on the curb?

The refuse administrator says if the city is late picking up, homeowners will not be picked on or punished.

As for the claim a garbage collector is getting paid $120,000 with overtime city officials said they were not aware of it and would need to check payroll records.

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