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Category: Watchdog

In August the Board held a Special Meeting on 8/3 and a Regular Meeting on 8/10, here are my notes and analysis, as a witness.  First I need to say this is where I lost hope of recycling in Roane surviving the gross negligence of this Board, I mean either they are blatantly lying about continuing recycling or these people are a special kind of stupid.  Actions speak louder than words and corrupt officials lying to the public is a common daily occurrence, so follow what they do, follow the money, and only believe what they say when its supported by evidence.  This month they decided to end ALL efforts to increase revenue and dispose of all inventory assets related to revenue projects, while not even acknowledging the $2,000 per quarter operating loss without RA funds, thereby guaranteeing a financial crisis after the REAP RA 2020 grant term ends on 2/28/21.

Notes on 8-3-20 Special Meeting

Short meeting to destroy the direct sales revenue project and reallocate the REAP funds to wasteful spending.

REAP Budget Change:  Cut yard ramp, reallocate $4,750 to storage area add-on project and remainder to $8,000 to purchasing a new small box truck.

REAP Storage Area Add-on Bid Criteria Modification:  Narrow storage area from 24 feet to 20 feet, add sheet metal siding.

Yard Ramp Background:  RA 2020 budget line item is $12,750, grant description is:  "Currently we load tractor-trailers with one laborer in a forklift placing pallets on the trailer-end and two laborers inside using a pallet jack to arrange pallets – this process requires several hours of labor. This is problematic because big trailers arch (bow) upward in the middle then flatten out (instead of sagging) under heavy load, and laborers with a pallet jack are unable to push triple stacked pallets (about 3,000 pounds) over the hump in the middle, so pallets are limited to only two bales (about 2,000 pounds), the load has to be balanced, and the trailer ends up only two-thirds loaded. These funds would purchase a yard ramp, which would allow a single laborer on a forklift to fully load a trailer in about an hour. Necessary specifications are being portable, 30 foot incline length with 6 foot level-off, 84-inch width, 20,000 pound capacity."  This is required for direct sales to bulk buyers, instead of hauling bulk materials to Jackson Co Recycling Center for 50% to 75% value, e.g. for CY-Q1 this was worth an extra $632.99, or about a third of the quarterly operating short fall.

Storage Area Add-on Background:  RA 2020 budget line item is $6,000, grant description is:  "To cost effectively sell materials directly to buyers we need to accumulate full tractor-trailer load shipments but our facility is not large enough to warehouse those quantities of each material type, so bulk materials are stacked outside temporarily and covered with tarps, during storms sometimes these tarps blow off causing water damage to materials, and wind blows bits off which our employees & volunteers have to spend time recovering. These funds will allow us to build a sheet metal roof with gutter, 30 feet wide attached to the 42 foot side of the building on one side and supported by 6-by-6 wood posts on the other, totaling 1,260 square feet, and enclosed with woven-wire fencing and mesh (shade cloth) walls, for a covered storage area for bulk materials, protected from all be the most severe wet weather and wind. Estimated cost for this is $4,500. This additional storage will also free up some floor space inside for more reuse material shelving, production equipment, and general work area.  Also, we have a problem with water intrusion under the main garage door, during any rain while the door is open, and during heavy rain when the door is closed, this door is the main entrance for patrons dropping off materials when our Center is open to the public. These funds would allow us to solve this problem with a small metal roof awning with a gutter, built in a similar fashion as the bulk materials storage area. Estimated cost for this is $1,500."  I screwed this up, I priced materials on lowes.com, without delivery cost, added 50% for labor, and no contractor markup (oops).  To correct that we abandoned the awning and reallocated $2,000 leftover from the new collection trailer budget item, for a total of $8,000 for this project.  The length was reduced to 34 feet to avoid rather than relocate a power line connection, and width reduced to 24 feet to avoid rather than remove a tree.  The purpose of this storage area is to hold as many pallets of bulk material as possible, so that tractor trailers can be loaded rapidly and bulk plastics can be sorted by type loose in boxes then baled/granulated in batches by type (requires dozens of pallet boxes), and so floor space inside is freed up for production -- every reduction in size reduces operational capacity and increases the need for a second storage area project.  Without the yard ramp and with no revenue projects, this is kind of pointless, may even be better to cut the storage area entirely and request more funding for a larger structure in RA 2022.  Sheet metal siding is a waste of funds, the woven wire horse fencing and plastic sheeting (greenhouse/high tunnel plastic) planned is good enough for upward of a decade, through multiple rounds of RA grant funding.

 

Notes on 8-10-20 Regular Meeting

Baler Movement:  They decided to have the balers bolted down to the floor.  Background:  When the larger balers are emptied roughly 1,000 pounds of material is ejected out the front, sometimes this causes the baler to recoil backward a fraction of an inch, this is normal, every so often the baler needs to be moved back into position.  The balers are not bolted down so they can be relocated as needed, without leaving bolt holes in the floor, if it's a problem then rubber pads for traction and/or weights can be added to reduce movement.  Note, this would be a problem with very rigid electrical conduit or if the machine were placed on a small concrete pad, in those cases bolting it down makes sense.

Paint Floor with Non-Slip Paint:  They decided to paint high traffic areas of the floor with a non-slip textured paint, primarily from the bay door to in front of the balers.  Background:  The floor gets slippery when wet, coating it with textured paint has been discussed since the new building opened but was not done due to a lack of funding, and this is complicated by the forklift leaking tiny amounts of oil which accumulate over time.  In typically incompetent fashion, there was no mention of thoroughly washing the floor before painting it, if this is not done then the paint will peal off.  Doing this will increase building maintenance, as the floor will have to be repainted at regular intervals anywhere the forklift is regularly driven.

Paint Trailers with Roller & Brush:  They decided to paint the trailers with roller & brush instead of a paint sprayer.  Background:  I own the paint sprayer that was being used to paint trailers, they didn't ask to borrow it or apparently didn't bother to borrow one from someone else, or buy one.  Painting with a sprayer is significantly more material and labor efficient, and tends to produce a better quality result (if the paint is mixed correctly).  There was no mention of scouring off rust and old paint, if this is not done then the paint will start to peal in a year or two, rather than lasting for several years.

Trailer Deployment:  They decided to place collection trailers in Amma and Camp Shepherd, discussed placement in Reedy, discussed continued placement at schools.  Discussed using remaining REAP collection trailer line item funds to purchase another trailer.   Background:  Trailers were always placed at schools, this is preferred because they can be monitored by school staff, may have security camera coverage, and tend to receive higher quality recyclables and less trash, but placement at Amma Senior Center may be equivalent.  Ultimately there are not enough trailers to go around, not enough funding to buy them, and deploying trailers is a net loss, so without additional revenue or grant funding this cannot be sustained after the REAP grant term ends.

Old Small Box Truck Repairs:  They received a bid of $1,800 for the old truck, this surprised them, they decided to wait for higher bids and to have Tim Miller attempt some repairs.  Background:  The brakes were rust seized, worst I've ever seen, and a few days before the County Commission started their hostile takeover I started on a full brake job, so I left the truck as-is, with 2 brake calipers hanging from coat hanger wire, one brake bracket has a rust seized caliper pin with a sheered off bolt so the caliper cannot be remounted without more work (or replacement), in June the Board approved spending $800 on parts for this plus my volunteer labor, this would cost upward of $2,000 at a local auto shop.  Also, the rear differential cover plate is rotted out (leaking), heater core is clogged, radiator had a bad leak which was improperly patched with a stop-leak additive that gummed up the coolant system (Main Street Auto quoted $2,500 to fix this & heater core), and there is serious rust which needs abatement.  Despite that, the 2008 vehicle only has 38k miles, engine and transmission are good, with repairs and good maintenance going forward it could serve for another 100k miles or more.  Replacing this vehicle is a waste of funds, selling it in this degraded condition is destruction of value, both are negligence.

New Small Box Truck Purchase:  They decided on purchasing a GMC 3500 small box truck, basically the same thing they have now in a newer model year, expected cost is $35k.  Background:  The RA 2020 grant budget includes $27k for a new pickup truck, a Ram 2500 was ordered but the order was put on hold when the County Commission did the hostile takeover.  On 8/3 this Board decided to request reallocation of $8,000 to purchase a small box truck.  As noted above, this is a waste of funds, and these funds were supposed to be used for a yard ramp, which would have facilitated direct sales and several hundred dollars of additional income per quarter.

Electronics:  They plan to contact Infinite Electronics Recycling to haul off the existing electronics inventory - they clearly do not know how IER works.  They plan to apply for a CED grant.  They will also contact a guy in Jackson County that buys electronics.  Background:  The electronics inventory is worth roughly one to three thousand dollars, depending on how its sold, could be a significant benefit to local needy families, and could help to start a new electronics program with a paid employee once CED funds become available.  Disposing of this inventory now may not cost anything due to its high value, but is a significant destruction of value and damages future efforts.

Glass:  Seems the glass inventory is too large for Bradish to take in a single load, they are discussing doing two loads or hauling some to Calhoun Co Recycling Center for a fee.  Background:  In June 2019 we decided to produce value added products from glass, to convert a loss into profit, but we needed funding to start production, REAP did not award this item in the RA 2020 grant but Jackson Co SWA offered to loan us a glass crusher.  It wasn't until around May 2020 that we had sufficient funds to start production, but throughout all of 2020 Mark Bossert obstructed work on this, seemingly out of personal bias or incompetence.  Jackson Co SWA stopped accepting glass in August 2019, our last shipment with glass was around May 2019, so so this is around 14 months of collection, 15 or 16 tons.

Direct Sales:  They discussed direct sales as if they had not destroyed that program in their previous meeting.  Background:  This is selling directly to bulk buyers instead of hauling to Jackson Co Recycling Center for 50% to 75% of the resale value.  A yard ramp is required for direct sales, so that tractor trailers can be fully and efficiently loaded, but these fools cut the yard ramp and wasted those grant funds on a new truck instead.  This is blatant incompetence.

Books:  Reported they were done destroying the book inventory.  Background:  Volunteers put a couple dozen hours into sorting that inventory to sell, but Mark Bossert was bent on destroying it, and the unsorted books too.  No one actually made an effort to sell those books.

SWMB Grant:  Received notice of $8,000+ award, they need to complete training and paperwork.  Background:  The grant I wrote was for $22,133.  The grants for 2017 to 2020 all requested over $20k and all received over $12k, to my knowledge there is not a sudden significant drop in the overall funding pool for this grant, so maybe this signifies SWMB has a lack of confidence in this new Board.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan:  They requested nearly $5k from Calhoun Co Bank, discussion strongly suggests they don't understand this program, they wanted to delay using the funds until after the end of the REAP grant term in March 2021 but it needs to be spent quickly on regular payroll.  There is no indication they are making financial plans to pay off this loan in the event it is not forgiven, magnifying that risk.  Background:  In June I talked to the new Recycling Director from Calhoun Co SWA (to ask about glass buyers), she said they received a PPP loan and we should do the same, so I suggested it to the Board.  Mark talked to Poca Valley Bank but they didn't think we were eligible, my understanding of the rules is we are clearly eligible for a loan but it is not clear that we are eligible for loan forgiveness, my guess is PVB believes we're not eligible and Calhoun Co Bank believes its worth giving it a try (and they get their fees either way).  It's clear this Board is creating a serious financial crisis for 2021, this may add to it if the loan is not forgiven, fortunately its a low interest rate.

Executive Session, Jordan Murphy:  They went to closed session, when the meeting reopened to the public they fired Jordan, no reason given.  They hired Nick Roberts.  Background:  Jordan was a Recycling Center Worker (aka Foreman's Assistant), a few Board members had wanted to fire Jordan for months (David brought it up at every meeting) but I prevented that.  Jordan was a little unconventional, had a short attention span but was a good worker when kept on task, he really liked working there, saw the potential of the place and what we were trying to do, he was really disappointed to see these fools trying to destroy it all.  That said, I do not know what happened or if there was specific cause given for his being fired.  Previously I warned him they would try to fire him, to be very careful, document any issues, and sue for wrongful termination, I offered to help, testify, or be his advocate in a Board hearing.

Insurance:  Discussed changing insurance.  Background:  SWA's are a local government agency and are covered by WV Board Risk and Insurance Management (BRIM), but in the privatized hybrid monstrosity of insurance coverage a local commercial insurance agent is required.  Mark Bossert looked for another agent earlier this year but couldn't find one, Jennifer Randolph said she would handle it.

Comprehensive Plan, Siting Plan:  Reviewed, no change.  Background:  SWA's are required to maintain the comprehensive plan and siting plan, no change is needed, especially with their abandoning all the work to increase revenue, some of what we were working on was expected to need a change to the comprehensive plan.

Bylaws:  Discussed changes to an old 2017 version of the bylaws, including updated meeting location and nitpicking text.  Background:  This was done in 2018, there's a hard copy somewhere in the file cabinets but the digital file is missing, fixing this was something for a Secretary to do, didn't need Board attention.

Recycling Center Street Address:  Official address is 381 Oak Drive, not 318.  Background:  Ralph said it was 318 and put the numbers on the door, everyone went along with it.  Later I pointed out 318 is out of place with the neighbors, a few people were supposed to check on this and report back but never followed through, Andrew and I never pressed the issue because it didn't make much practical difference, mail goes to P.O. Box 713.

Overall:  Well they certainly are making themselves look busy but their incompetence is amazing.

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