Wednesday, May 11, 2016

PMUA Director Hails Gains

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.



  1. PMUA still has too many managers and assistant managers point blank !

  2. Former commissioner Alex Toliver called it propaganda. Executive Director Daniel Mejias calls it re-branding, and though he is taking strides to find more efficient and cost-effective ways of doing business, the bottom line is that PMUA remains a high cost service provider. Despite staff reductions put in place since former exec Eric Watson walked out on his contract (and was less than curiously paid off as if he had been fired without cause), the authority remains overstaffed, with multiple office locations, and as a current commissioner put it, fraught with back office redundancy. PMUA remains a nest of patronage. There has been no effort to reimburse ratepayers for 20 years of illegal commissioner compensation. The City and PMUA are still perpetrating the cash flow fraud that first gutted the Inter Local Agreement of built-in transparency and accountability provisions in 1998 and enabled the authority to surreptitiously pocket upwards of $2.4 million in taxpayer money over the following years. PMUA, for its part, remains secretive about tonnage figures and any other costs of servicing public areas. It is either unable to differentiate between user classes (the basis for determining rates) or unwilling to provide a real analysis. If such a revelation would justify the fee schedule, you have to ask why it isn't offered up, if only to silence the critics. But perhaps they are just fearful of what such an analysis would show, namely that the high fees you can't opt out of subsidize the over-staffing and keep the strictly residential rate relatively low. I say relatively because as it is, it's 20% higher than an alternative like Grand Sanitation. Finally, having an auditor and CFO among the longest tenured members of the team, is never a good formula, especially when there is a documented history of misrepresentations and falsehoods contained in PMUA's financial statements, not to mention the flip-side, in the City's budget as well.

    1. Alan,
      I'm pretty sure that the CFO and the Auditor are both Certified and Licensed in the State of NJ. What certifications and license do you possess that make you more qualified? Please answer for the public.
      Are you a lawyer , CPA or etc. , that makes you more qualified and spout out all of these undocumented allegations? If the PMUA is as bad as you say that it is, why hasn't the State done something about it?

  3. You may remember that during the Iraq War the Iraqi government radio station broadcast news of Iraqi victories and the imminent defeat of US forces until it was captured. Bill Kruse

  4. Improvements at the PMUA? What a load of ‘solid waste’. The PMUA is still gouging ratepayers. My solid waste bill is $61.66/month which is over 200% of Grand Sanitation’s cost for the same service. And if I choose to switch carriers, I will still pay PMUA $27/month as a Shared Service Fee to cover heir overhead waste.

    In 2012, the PMUA Task Force compared Sewer and Solid Waste Services for Union and PMUA for Plainfield. Here’s the comparison:

    Category Plainfield/PMUA Union
    Population 49,500 56,000
    Waste Tonnage/yr 18,461 18,475
    Employees 171 76
    Sewer Costs $10.3 Million $5.2 Million
    Solid waste Expense $12.1 Million $3.4 Million
    Total Cost Sewer & Solid waste $22.4 Million $8.6 Million
    Difference +$13.8 Million

    In the last four years, the PMUA has not done anything of substance to bring their rates down to market rate and they continue to gouge their customers. Until that happens any talk of ‘PMUA improvements’ brings to mind the two old analogies, “Putting Lipstick on a Pig” and ‘Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

    Tom Kaercher

    1. To be fair, one thing reported at the joint PMUA-City Council meeting was a staff reduction to 133.

    2. And 27 managers a ratio of 5/1

  5. HI Bernice,

    It may be the PMUA has cut headcount, but it hasn't resulted in a significant rate reduction. The PMUA is still charging customers more than twice the market rate for sewer and solid waste services. Grand sanitation charges 30.98/month for trash removal for the same service PMUA charges $61.66/month. And waht's more if you switch to Grand, PMUA still charges you $27/month or 44% of your solid waste fee as a Shared Service Fee, which is supposed to be for collecting trash in City owned trash cans down town and in the city parks and from illegal dumping. Both those activities only account for less than 1% of their trash volume. So until the PMUA slashes its rates to get to market rates for services, all their 'Good News" is simple B.S. because they are still screwing the ratepayers.

    Tom Kaercher

    1. Maybe you can answer the same question that was asked of Alan that he never answered.

      What certifications and license do you possess that make you more qualified? Please answer for the public.
      Are you a lawyer , CPA or etc. , that makes you more qualified?

    2. It seems that no one wants to answer the question about their qualifications. Thats because they are all ignorant rambling fools with no certs, licenses, education, or experience in the garbage industry. No factual knowledge or understanding of the industry. They really need to stop pretending like they know it all

    3. Because you're in an apparent state of denial, Anonymous, it probably wouldn't make a difference what our qualifications are. I suggest you work on your reading comprehension. You can start with the state's MUA law and the PMUA's creation ordinance. Then you can graduate to the Inter Local Agreement, particularly Section 203B and the Solid Waste lease. Once you've mastered those, give the Authority's financial statements a try, or the IRS Code, sections 1.106.1 and 1.61-21 (a)(3). If you feel inspired, make a few comparisons to other MUAs, or read through a few PMUA or City Council meeting minutes. Some of this doesn't require much more than a basic grasp of the English language. A dollop of facts offered up as a counter argument would be helpful, but in this you're as deficient as PMUA management.