Inland brings in extra resources, aims to have trash collected by Monday

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The city of Memphis says it may be a few more days before a city contract company catches up on its garbage rounds.

A city spokesperson said the city spoke with Inland Waste Monday and was told the company hopes to be caught up with the trash backlog by Monday, April 23. They said the problems are from an unexpected staff shortage.

Jake Kirk is looking forward to his wedding at home, but he's also worried because 'It looks a mess out here. Citizens shouldn't have to remind a company how to do its job."

Inland has brought in additional resources to help. They started working Wednesday morning.

While it is a timeline, that's not good news for residents of Hickory Hill and Cordova who told WREG they have been waiting for trash pickup for some time.

"It's not a pretty sight to see," resident David Barber said.

One woman we spoke with on Tuesday said she's been waiting for Inland to pick up leaves and yard debris from her curb since February.

"As mayor of the city I take responsibility for it," Mayor Jim Strickland said.

Strickland said the city has forced Inland to use its own money to hire an extra contractor to help get the mess cleaned up.

They’re also figuring out what to do for the long-term.

Memphis currently pays Inland more than $4 million a year for service through 2019. Inland currently only serves about 20 percent of the city, and with so many problems, city officials said they are considering replacing them once their contract ends in 2019.

Bids should go out later this year.

"We're looking at all options under the contract. It's an unacceptable service," Strickland said.

We read through the city’s contract with Inland and found a clause that states “the city may cancel or terminate this agreement upon providing written notice.. and the contractor has failed to cure the breach within 30 days.”

Officials say Inland hasn’t breached its contract yet, but they have sent a notice to the company about its failure to perform.

We went to Inland’s offices Wednesday to find out why they say they haven’t done the job. An employee referred us to the corporate offices.

We received the following written response after the story aired:

Inland Waste Solutions a Bobcat North America Company is experiencing service delays in the City of Memphis. The issue began Monday, April 9, 2018 when our Memphis, Tennessee Inland Waste location experienced a qualified professional driver shortage without notice. Inland Waste immediately took action, contacting Philip Davis, Deputy Solid Waste Director advising him of the situation. We began conducting interviews and hiring qualified candidates to replace the driver shortage. There are new drivers currently completing our Driver Training Program for safe operation on public roadways. “We take ownership of the situation and will take steps necessary to resolve this issue as soon as possible. We must maintain safe operation of our fleet to protect the citizens of the Memphis area”. Our Memphis professionals continued to provide service updates throughout the week, completing all Cart service by Sunday afternoon, April 15, 2018.

Monday, April 16, 2018 at 10:15am a conference call was conducted with Deputy COO Patrice Thomas, Solid Waste Director Robert Knecht and Deputy Solid Waste Director Philip Davis. A full disclosure of service challenges and delays were outlined by Inland Waste Solutions to City Officials. A second conference call with the same attendee’s was held at 1:45pm Monday afternoon. Inland Waste Solutions outlined a written detailed operating plan that was submitted to Mayor Strickland for approval. The plan outlined the use of Rental Sanitation Trucks and a local vendor to assist with bulk and yard waste collection. These additional trucks and local vendor are expected to arrive on April 18 or 19, 2018. Once the additional resources arrive, they will be put into immediate service.

The article released on April 17, 2018 quoting Robert Knecht “We’ve ask them to explain why they’re not meeting service” is troubling. Inland Waste Solutions provided a written Operating Plan to Mr. Knecht and City Officials which was accepted on April 16, 2018 at 1:45pm.

Update April 18, 2018; Inland Waste Solutions has taken delivery of three Rental Sanitation Trucks and is currently utilizing Michaels Tree Service for bulk and Yard Waste collection. Cordova is the priority area to clean up, per Mayor Strickland. Then we will move into the other Inland Waste service areas of Memphis sweeping the city as we move down each street. We are 100% focused on providing service to our residential customers in the City of Memphis. We apologize for the current situation and feel we are taking steps necessary to resolve the issue in an expeditious manner. The service commitment date of April 23, 2018 is still our goal. “We are working diligently every day to provide service to all Inland customers.