Progressive told garbage collection service ‘atrocious’

Garbage pick-up service in St. Mary Parish has been “atrocious” of late, according to one parish councilman, but is on the way to becoming better, according to the service contractor.
“The service actually has been atrocious,” said Councilman David Hanagriff of Centerville. “The service we’ve been getting lately and for the past year, I would have fired you a long time ago,” he told Bill Frey, district municipal marketing and governmental affairs manager of Progressive Waste Solutions. “You really have to step it up.”
Hanagriff noted that just recently in Centerville the trash was not picked up on Wednesday as it should have been until the next regular pick-up day on Saturday.
Other councilmen to complain of the frequent calls they get from constituents with complaints on the service included Steve Bierhorst of Patterson who provided the media with the company’s phone number to call instead. That number is 337-828-4935.
“I’m not here to defend,” Frey told the council Wednesday. “I’m here to be humble, to admit from our company that the service has been a lot to be desired.”
Frey said the company is making every effort to improve and has brought in its best staff from across the country to educate and train local employees.
“This will be corrected in a very short period of time or I wouldn’t blame the parish for doing whatever they have to do,” he said.
He introduced Kuchonnie Lewis, the St. Mary Parish supervisor who said, “Hopefully before Christmas everything should be running.”
She said mechanics have been working to repair truck floors to prevent leakage, tailgates are being changed out and new arms are being installed. Mechanics are also working to repair two trucks that will be used as backups in case of breakdowns.
Also on the way are new cans that as they come in about two weeks, will be switched out with damaged ones, she said.
“I appreciate the fact that y’all are going to try to get it straight,” said Councilman Sterling Fryou of Amelia.
In other discussion, the council heard from Ernest Verret who said he wanted to inform the council of his efforts to reestablish the 12-hour shift to man the west Calumet floodgate to better facilitate waterway navigation by commercial fishers as well as flood protection.
Budget cuts led the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to  cut back the shift to eight hours in January.
Verret added that the locks were completely closed from February through August this year which reduced water flow to the basin, causing fish to die and water hyacinth to grow.
“Everything got bad in the back,” he said.
He also noted there was not an operator on duty on a day about two months ago when due to rain the water in the Teche came up 14 inches higher than in the spillway.
“If they’d of had an operator they could have opened … and people wouldn’t have had water in the yards,” he said.
Parish President Paul Naquin said he has met with the Congressman Charles Boustany who is aware of the situation.
“The floodgates are open 24 hours a day unless the water comes up,” he said.
In other business the council:
—Passed resolutions on a local service agreement with the City of Morgan City on the use of jail laundry equipment; endorsement of participation in the Quality Jobs Program by Turbine Powered Technology LLC; a change order on the river wharf replacement project in Berwick by Berry Bros. General Contractors; a contract with the lowest bidder to replace the generator at Law Enforcement Center; a contract with the lowest bidder to upgrade parishwide sewer lift stations and change order on same; an engineering and administrative services contract on the Louisiana Community Development Block Grant Program.
—Appointed Earlon Arnaud and Junius P. Hebert Jr. to Consolidated Gravity Drainage District 1; Daniel Wilson, Ronald E. Berry, Paul A. Cheramie, Lee Dragna and Jean Paul Bourg to Consolidated Drainage District 2; Carl A. McAllister to Drainage District 6; and Robert Wilkerson, Dennis P. Gilmore Jr. and Harold Driggers to Fire Protection District 7.

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