In the immortal words of the “Scooter” Phil Rizzuto, “Holy Cow!” We are one week into the new administration and we have confirmation about political favors from the past administrations. And that was just in the Solid Waste Department. 

On Friday, Jan. 4, three days prior to the new administration taking office, we discovered many trash bills that were forgiven for whatever reason. We filed an open records request and sat with folks at Solid Waste who gave us the information requested. 

First, I will say that the people at Solid Waste are great people and they are smart and hard-working. However, like the furloughed federal workers, they, too, are political pawns. 

When we asked the folks at Solid Waste they, to their credit were loyal to the people they worked for at the time and did not supply us with reasons why some credits were given. I understand that, and by no means were they responsible for what happened. 

Solid Waste Commissioner Bobby Mullins told the court all about the problems that the landfill and Solid Waste Department is experiencing. Mullins said “inaction and politics” are major factors for the landfill’s pitfalls. 

Mullins said that we have enjoyed low trash bills but in reality, the bills should have had an increase to cover the inevitable upgrades the landfill desperately needs. There is equipment that is inadequate, the landfill is getting to capacity, the waste water has no place to go and, for years, they have not been properly compacting the trash to maximize the capacity. Mullins spoke freely because, I would guess, the threat of being fired for speaking out no longer exists. 

I said that the previous administrations were inept, and Mullins confirmed that. They did not raise rates because of fear of not getting re-elected. They didn’t maintain equipment properly and they forced the Solid Waste Department to give credits to people Solid Waste employees believed should not get them. 

“Politics has always played a role in solid waste in preventing us from operating like a business would do,” Mullins said. “There would be various people in positions that would ask us to maybe see if I could ‘help someone’ — that’s the way they would put it — or ‘What can we do about this bill?’

“Sometimes we made adjustments we didn’t want to make,” he said. “That cost the system money.” 

And there you have it. 

The former mayor of Paintsville was sent to prison. His demise started when he was indicted for, among other things, not paying for utilities on some of his properties. I wonder if the feds would consider looking into this mess?

Mullins went on to say that he would reprimand people for various reasons and sometimes his reprimands would not stand.

“Some I would reprimand and it would not stand,” he said. “It depends on who you

are, where you’re from and who you voted for is basically what it amounted to.”

Again, “Holy Cow!” 

Abuse of power, inept, lack of leadership and intimidation, or bullying, was the standard operating procedure. 

Fortunately, that bunch is out and we have been promised complete transparency, which appears to be happening. And, if nothing else, we know none of the court members will use the entrance of the Courthouse as their private parking spot.   

Thanks for reading the News-Express.

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