Memphis hires new solid waste director to clean up trash pickup problems

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The city of Memphis has hired a director focusing on trash pickup, and they have high hopes it makes a big difference.

Many remember the headaches of earlier this year, when Inland Waste was not picking up trash in Cordova and Hickory Hill, and debris like branches and leaves were left out all over the city.

Al Lewis

Officials say they realized they had a major problem — an unreliable strategy for picking up debris.

They also fired Inland Waste and asked council for money to hire a new contractor and create a new position.

The mayor’s team selected Army veteran Al Lamar as the city’s first director of solid waste.

Lamar is a Memphis native who retired as a lieutenant colonel with the Army after 30 years. By trade in the military, he's a strategic planner, he said,

"The thing we're most excited about Mr. Lamar is his logistics experience,” said Doug McGowan, Memphis' chief operating officer.

Lamar been back in his hometown for five years now, and he knows he has a big job ahead.

"The perception is the service is lacking. My job is to bring actual and perception, put those in line so that the citizens of Memphis can have confidence," he said. "For the citizens it may take a little while, but that’s going to come over time with performance, and this will become a performance-oriented team.”

He says in his first two months he plans to review spending on equipment and personnel and make whatever changes necessary.

Lamar’s hiring passed council unanimously Tuesday.

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