Wednesday, November 11, 2015

PMUA Seeking to "Re-Brand," Launches New App

The Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority is looking to "re-brand" its identity in the community, Chairman Charles Tyndale said Tuesday, and Executive Director Daniel Mejias announced an informational outreach campaign that includes an app for both Apple and android phones.

The authority has provided solid waste and sewer services to the city since 1995, but Tyndale noted a "negative stigma" that developed a few years ago. (See Plaintalker's report on the "ratepayer revolt" of 2009). The protests have subsided, but Tyndale proposed a "special committee" to rebrand the PMUA. Commissioner Carol Ann Brokaw called it an excellent idea, though suggesting that Tyndale leave it up to the executive staff and not get involved as a commissioner.

Tyndale said residents may pay $200 a month for cable television, but only $300 per quarter for the authority's services.

"You get a clean city, working sewers and recycling," he said.

Mejias urged residents to use the new MyWaste app for personalized collection schedules, to report issues and to learn how to handle various kinds of waste. He mentioned an incident where someone brought muriatic acid to the transfer station, causing a HazMat incident last week. The authority is now spot-checking loads and anyone caught bringing improper materials there will be made to leave and banned from future use of the transfer station, he said.

Commissioner Michelle Graham-Lyons said she is now using the MyWaste app and recommends it.

PMUA officials also hope to sort out for the public the difference between the authority's services and those of the municipal Division of Public Works. Mejias mentioned a misunderstanding over street-sweeping operations.

Among other items in the director's report, Mejias said the Rock Avenue transfer station passed a DEP review for renewal of the transfer station permit and final approval is pending. The authority will be looking for new outside municipal contracts with a promotional effort at the League of Municipalities conference next week.

The authority will soon have a new technology system that will allow for creation of routes and cut back on redundancy and paperwork, Mejias said. The $41,020 cost will be spread over four years, he said.

A new urgent care provider has also been chosen, after the former provider changed hands. Doctors Express in South Plainfield will take care of workers injured on the job, among other services.

Duane Young, back as chief financial officer, said the authority is awaiting more data to make budget projections more accurate and expects the 2016 budget to be introduced in early January. The budget will be used to determine user rates. The board and staff gave Leanna Walcott a round of applause for serving as interim acting CFO.



  1. The best and only rebranding necessary is to be open about disposal costs and tonnage figures, breakout all the data underlying the Shared System Service Fee for common areas, adhere to the letter of the Inter Local Agreement, credit ratepayers for the past illegal commissioner compensation, fire its auditing firm Lerch Vinci & Higgins, and reduce administrative overhead that is among the very highest of all MUAs in the entire state. No apps, propaganda, outside municipal contracts, or environmental fairs, will ever offset high rates and the PMUA-brand of obfuscation.

  2. Rebranding translates to propagandizing. The only way to alter people's perception is through the public's pocketbook. The potential for meaningful cost reduction is now, as it has ben, through reduction in staff by attrition and retirement, consolidation of locations, and monitoring the wanton employment of consultants, attorneys and subcontractors. Until the Commissioners get under the sheets, that is, study the books, and apply hands on reviews, rather than perfunctorily appearing once a month and accepting what they are told, no meaningful reform will occur. It is doubtful that a majority of the Commissioners could pass an exam given on the content of the Inter Local Agreement which is the foundation of their authority.
    Bill Kruse

  3. Lipstick on a pig is still a pig. Reduce the rates if you want to re-brand something. The service provided is great, but not at the rates being charged. Stop lining your pockets at tax payer expense.