Attendance at Tuesday's PMUA meeting was sparse, but the news was intense: Executive Director Daniel Mejias sees a new energy in authority management and announced several money-saving initiatives.
Just three of the five commissioners were on hand to hear Mejias describe what he sees as a team "buy-in" to honing operations.
"Everybody's buying in to the direction we want to take the authority," he said.
Since becoming director last July, Mejias has made several personnel changes, eliminating some titles and relocating offices for efficiency. Now, he says, managers are holding their own meetings and taking minutes, in addition to regular meetings..
"The buy-in is there," he said.
Early on, he identified the transfer station as a target for change. On Tuesday, Commissioners Carol Ann Brokaw, Michelle Graham-Lyons and Robin Bright approved purchase of a stationary compactor to be used at the Rock Avenue facility to compress cardboard for recycling. Currrently, materials go into open containers. The compactor will increase capacity by up to a 3 to 1 ratio, Mejias said, and will save on hauling costs.
The commissioners also approved a contract for onsite fuel service, meaning employees won't have to take time to drive to service stations and will find vehicles fueled up when they arrive for work.
Among many other contracts, commissioners approved purchase of material to do in-house sewer repair. The company, Perma-Liner, will train staff and provide technical assistance. Mejias contrasted a previous 4-foot spot repair cost of $9,500 with $1,000 anticipated by doing it in-house. The system will not require street openings, something Mayor Adrian O. Mapp stressed the need to avoid on newly-paved streets, Mejias said.
Mejias said former Commissioner Harold Mitchell had been expected Tuesday to discuss the Plainfield Area Regional Sewerage Authority, but had a conflict and could not attend. Mitchell was the last PMUA representative to PARSA. He was a holdover on the PMUA since 2011, unseated only in June 2015.
Naming of a new representative bogged down over an issue of appointive powers Meanwhile, Commissioner Brokaw suggested reading the PARSA minutes and noted anyone can attend their public meetings.
Chairman Henry Robinson, Commissioner Charles Tyndale and Alternate No. 1 Commissioner Pedro Estevez were absent Tuesday. No City Council liaison was present and I was the only member of the public present.