City Council stands by garbage collection contract

February 14, 2012 by  

A new ordinance that moves the city of Los Alamitos closer to a new trash collection contract and a new law that oversees how contracts are awarded, squeezed by the City Council by a 3-2 vote during its February meeting. The measures were approved in response to a lawsuit over the $24.5 million refuse contract which claims that the city disobeyed its own code by not awarding the contract to the company that offered the lowest bid.

City Councilwoman Gerri Graham-Mejia voiced her opposition to the newly approved contract for not including safeguards to ensure that city leaders will be prevented from awarding lucrative contracts in return for political favors. The city gave the trash contract to Consolidating Disposal Services.

The city is not out of the legal woods yet despite its approval of a new contract procedure that allows the council to either reaffirm the existing contract or approve a new one. The city has appealed a court ruling that cancels the contract with Consolidated Disposal Services. At the same time the plaintiffs in the case are appealing a court decision to dismiss claims of corruption against the council majority.

The city has rejected an out-of-court settlement from one of the plaintiffs that offered to dismiss its appeal if the city would approve a new trash contact and pay about $300,000 in legal fees. The city may want to consider using print company services to run off news releases to update Los Alamitos residents on the status of the controversial issue.