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Mahwah Council Strikes Down Plan to Outsource Recycling

The council voted 5-2 against the administration's plan that would have led to the firing of four DPW employees.

The Mahwah Township Council Thursday night voted to keep recycling services in Mahwah despite urging from the administration that outsourcing would be the best available option to help the township meet its financial obligations in the face of a state 2 percent tax cap.

The council voted 5 to 2 to keep the Department of Public Works as the recycling service provider. The decision came after a two and a half hour back and forth meeting in which the administration presented its argument for outsourcing the Department of Public Works and dozens of Mahwah residents adamantly spoke out against the proposal.

Council members John Spiech and Samuel Alderisio voted for the outsourcing and council members Roy Larson, John Roth, Charles Jandris, Lisa DiGiulio and Harry Williams voted against. 

A number of council members expressed trepidation with the plan, suggesting the decision should be held off until the financial situation could be analyzed further and understood more completely.

"I see no compelling reason why this decision has to be made in 2012," Councilman Williams said.

Councilwoman DiGiulio at times spoke vehemently against the proposition.

"You could privatize everything... but is that the kind of town we want to live in?" DiGiulio asked rhetorically. "What kind of community would this be? I don't want to lose any of the [township employees.]"

The future of the township’s Recycling Department had been in question following a  at which Mayor Bill Laforet proposed privatizing the department. More than 130 residents, including a large group of employees wearing neon green shirts — and with a large blow-up union rat in tow — gathered at town hall to hear the council’s opinions on privatization.

The Recycling Department, made up of seven public employees, is an arm of the DPW. Laforet proposed eliminating the department and replacing it with a private service that would pick up and transport residents’ recycling.

The plan floated by the administration proposed a savings of more than $334,000 through privatization. 

Councilman Roth, however, questioned the figures presented by the administration's plan at the August 9 meeting, calling them "almost laughable."

"How could those numbers be realistic?" asked Roth. "I don't think this math is right and I don't think the savings are real."

Business Administrator Brian Campion and Laforet both rebuked Roth, defending the cost savings plan, which is attached to this story.

"It's unconscionable that an $83,000 employee is picking up your recycling," Laforet said after the August 9 meeting. "We would have saved nearly $4 million over 10 years and this council decided to vote against the tax payer."

"The taxpayer needs to know the truth about what's going on," Laforet continued.

Laforet said the only reasons any council member had voted against the outsourcing plan were "purely political" ones. Asked what the administration would do to meet its budget goals, Laforet was hesitant.

"We now have to go into the budget season realizing 100 percent of the savings in only nine months of the year," he responded. "The cuts that you will see are dire." 

WhoCares; Mahwah August 12, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Link to recording of the meeting below. There is a very disappointing exchange where one of the audience attendees inappropriately and persistently heckles one of our citizens who is addressing the Town Council at the microphone. The real disappointment is that this inappropriate conduct comes from someone trying to run for a council seat. Goto 1:38 (1 hour 38 minutes in). https://dl.dropbox.com/u/5872067/MahwahMall-audio/8-9-12-PB/12080901.MP3
Ralph August 12, 2012 at 03:17 PM
For clarity can you name the person who was doing the heckleing so we all know who not to vote for if indeed this person is actually running for a council seat? If this was a person running for council, this behavior should not be accepted and this person should not run for council because he cannot act professionally as expected.
Mark August 12, 2012 at 05:25 PM
They didn't cut the overtime. Its back.
Mark August 12, 2012 at 05:28 PM
I believe it was Dan Weixeldorfer.
Ralph August 12, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Is this true Mr Weixeldorfer. You have been on the Patch before. Can you explain your actions?
ref August 12, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Come on fess up if it was you Ronda H I mean Dan, we all know of your tactics if it was you who was heckler have a pair and admit it, just saying
T-Bird 148 August 12, 2012 at 06:53 PM
@Concerned Parent/Taxpayer - interesting idea ... but the term "ticket quota" comes to mind.
lori dorie August 12, 2012 at 11:35 PM
awww, excuse me BUT, where are all the comments about Mr. Wexeldorfer (yea, I know I spelled his name wrong but you know who I'm takling about)who is running for the council who was heckling some of the people who got up to speak at the council meeting Thurs. night????? This is a fact that he was doing this because I was there and I HEARD him do this and you can go on the website, stopmahwahmall.com, and listen to the recording for the Town Council Meeting. I think it's at 1hr and 37min. This is a disgrace and this man who is running for public office in our town should be ashamed of himself and the person who took this off patch should also be ashamed. The people have a right to know and if this gets taken offf I will re-post!!!!!
Hank August 13, 2012 at 12:12 AM
I wonder why they took it off. I started listening from 1:00 on and was riveted. We have some really smart people in Mahwah. If someone wants to repost please do Actually the guy who spoke at 1:05 is worth the price of admission. I never met him or know who he is but he is a real treasure.
lori dorie August 13, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Think about it Hank......Who is supporting this guy that is running for a seat on our council. It's not that hard to figure out. Both he and his wife were out of line. People have the right to go up to that microphone and say whatever they need to say and should not be called an a--hole because you don't like what they are saying ESPECIALLY by someone running for a council seat. Really disgraceful!
NDW August 13, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Who Cares; Mahwah shared a link. 11 hours ago. Link to recording of the meeting below. There is a very disappointing exchange where one of the audience attendees inappropriately and persistently heckles one of our citizens who is addressing the Town Council at the microphone. The real d isappointment is that this inappropriate conduct comes from someone trying to run for a council seat. Goto 1:38 (1 hour 38 minutes in). https://dl.dropbox.com/u/5872067/MahwahMall-audio/8-9-12-PB/12080901.MP3 No Title Unknown Artist - Unknown Album
NDW August 13, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Dan/ Rhonda H et el keep trying to pull the Weixelgate tape off th the Patch. Nice try Dan you're outed again bozo. Bily's boy should not be allowed on the Council! Take the tape down all you want, phones ringing all over Mahwah about it.
WhoCares; Mahwah August 13, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Stop the Mall recording of Thursday's Town Council proceedings. Go to 1hour 38 minutes, then play. https://dl.dropbox.com/u/5872067/MahwahMall-audio/8-9-12-PB/12080901.MP3
WhoCares; Mahwah August 13, 2012 at 02:59 AM
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/5872067/MahwahMall-audio/8-9-12-PB/12080901.MP3
Tom Troncone (Editor) August 14, 2012 at 12:18 AM
I made the decision this morning to close commenting on this article because I felt the comments had devolved into personal attacks that violated our terms of service. Closing comments on a story is at our discretion. I've turned comments back on for this story and hopefully everyone has had a chance to simmer down a bit. But a warning, further comments on this thread that violate our terms of service will be met with account suspensions. In other words, let's keep the discourse going, but let's also keep it civil. Thanks. Any questions, please feel free to email me at tom.troncone@patch.com.
ref August 14, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Mr.and Mrs. Weixeldopher,if these allegations are true you should at least issue an apology to the person you were heckling,if they are not true then lets hear from you to the contrary.
NDW August 14, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Seems like you want the news and views but on your terms. Civility in discourse is always respected but public officials caught red handed behaving badly are fair game. Why not run a poll on that?
joseph j guider August 14, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Sometimes even good ideas outlive their usefulness? The WPA (works projects administrtion) initiated and implimented by FDR back around '37/'38 to boost the national economy and help with the build up to WW2 defense's was eventually discontinued after the war and left to be renamed DPW funded entirely by local govt. It was more useful to FDR because he need the support from the south, electorially. Basically it was a patronage thing for the Politicians.
Ralph August 14, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Mr. Troncone, I understand your position to close the commenting on this article based on the attacks being said by some of the people responding, however, comments being made and verified by many should become newsworthy on the Patch. Many Mahwah residents read these articles and need to be educated on what is going on in town. The Patch does a good job usually in doing so however I think you missed the boat in not running with the story of an incident involving a member of the public and another menber of the public who is asking the voters of Mahwah to elect him to a council seat. Surely in your research you would see that this story should be explored. Mr Weixeldorfer, Mr. Hermansen and others who witnessed the incident should be interviewed and an article should be written about what happened that night at the council meeting. The Patch has an obligation to report stories that will have a lasting impact in our town. Your thoughts?
Gottardo DiGiacopo August 14, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Joe J Guider, respectfully, i'm guessing your opening question was rhetorical... what confuses me a bit is the history lesson that follows. though inspired by some of the facts of that time does it/you believe that's the whole story? And my larger question is: do your last two historical tid-bits (in the aura of your opening question) imply that the WPA as well as the DPW had/have no lasting merit? is today's/our DPW a political hand-out? Is our belief in cleared roads and trash removal a naive submission to propoganda and the status-quo? i'm confused.
JP August 15, 2012 at 05:47 AM
The WPA existed from 1935 to 1943 to alleviate the joblessness of the Great Depression and ended when the productivity boom of WWII was in full swing and it wasn't necessary anymore. Large towns in America have had formal DPW's since the mid 1800's when many were established to help in sanitation after the major cholera outbreak back then. I would venture to speculate that DPW's, in some form or another, existed from the establishment of the first permanent colony in the USA.
John Ebanietti August 16, 2012 at 08:31 PM
If there was any doubt in my mind as to who would get my vote in the upcoming Mayoral election this fall my mind is now clear after reading page 4 of todays Suburban News. I will not be voting fro Bill Laforet!!
NDW August 16, 2012 at 09:48 PM
John E, We're running the Town by press release. The utter disregard for elected officials is astonishing. He is incabable of convincing the Town Council so he is trying to buy his way into public opinion. Hope all the people from ADPP are happy with the way their contributions are being spent. This should not be the way of the future.
ref August 16, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Wow,the article on page four of the SUBURBAN news is a real eye opener,Im sure the author was not the mayor,because mahwah's mayor would not stoop that low to insult the intelligence of the people in our town and the people that do the hard work for our town. You Mr. Mayor had very little to do with the1.75 % tax increase so why are you willing to take the credit for it,there are a lot of other avenue's to explore before you try and badger the public with your asault on the DPW,there are a few departments that you have not explored with your amazed Blue ribbon committee,I will not broach that avenue now but please don't think your childish behavior is going to get you anywhere. This study that you mention that was"hidden" from the public,I do believe Mr. Alderiso was on that council why didn't he bring it out in the open? One more thing sir you are not my Mayor you are the Mayor of Mahwah,I did not vote for you nor will I vote for you in the future
JP August 16, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Like I said before, when you have government run by a businessman and a panel of "Blue Ribbon" business owners (*eye roll*) this is what you get. They are a numbers only group of right leaning, tax and spending cutters. There is so much more to running a town then just cutting taxes. The mayor mentioned today an $83,000 salary and benefit package for a DPW employee, trying to now divide the citizens into two sides over how much money and benefits they get and to put our council members in bad light. I say GOOD for the DPW workers and more power to them.
NJ Boomer August 17, 2012 at 12:17 AM
The chutzpah of our mayor is breath taking. Does he really think he can (or should) override the vote of the town council. Does he really think he's God? It is juvenile and very unprofessional. You lost, Mr. Mayor. Get over it and live to fight another day. It's called politics
william edgar August 18, 2012 at 07:40 PM
got to go. agree with the council's decision. I'm glad an election is coming up- the current mayor has got to go.
Mark Case August 18, 2012 at 09:21 PM
None of the guys the Mayor was firing made $83,000/year. They didn't show the numbers "too hard" so we get fed lies!
NDW August 18, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Was it the right decision to keep Mahwah's recycling a part of the township DPW? Yes, the council made the right decision 69% No, the council should have outsourced recycling 30% Total votes: 68 Not even close!
JP August 19, 2012 at 03:07 AM
It's salary plus benefits, not just salary, so that figure is reasonable and believable. (Not that they don't deserve more then that though)

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