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Fallout: The Santa Rosa County + Waste Pro Report

the Santa Rosa county + waste pro report

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Collusion

Collusion is a heady word, especially when we’re talking about a contract between the Santa Rosa County government and Waste Pro. In its strictest, dictionary.com, sense – collusion has two meanings. It’s the second one we find most interesting. 

“A secret understanding between two or more persons to gain something illegally, to defraud another of his or her rights, or to appear as adversaries though in agreement.”

 

This all starts with the self-admitted incomplete report that was released late on thursday, July 1st by the 3rd party lawyer brought in to investigate what is going between Waste Pro and Santa Rosa County, the report just did not have enough scope to accurately portray exactly what was going on. 

The lawyer, Michelle Anchors, someone we know to be an honest lawyer with an impeccable reputation and a sharp mind, said this about the report:

“I have not attempted to report every single detail from those interviews [the interviews she conducted to create this report] ; nor have I attempted to follow every single lead, but I am responding to the primary issues communicated to me as of June 10, 2021. I have not conducted any forensic analysis of computer or telephone data, accounting, or records of Waste Pro, but I am willing to do so and/or work with qualified independent professionals in those fields should additional investigatory work be necessary.’

The Completed incomplete report was almost 60 pages long. If you’re a masochist (we are), you can read the whole thing by clicking here.

Well, when county officials saw that they had this initial report that didn’t cover the whole of the investigations, they apparently took a look at it and told Mrs. Anchors “nah, we’re good. We’ll conduct our own super amazing internal investigation.”

 

Mrs. Anchors said herself, this issue isn’t anywhere close to resolved and needs independent eyes on it. The County Administration said, ‘there might be something here, but we trust ourselves to be impartial and find it.’

 

You’ll never guess what happened next. 

 

Ok, yes, you will. 

 

The County’s internal investigation found nothing wrong! 

 

Despite the fact that no electronic data was combed through to find evidence, or lack thereof, of improper behavior; and despite the fact that the allegations about deletions of emails (a potential criminal offense in Florida) were answered with an analysis of the phone system, and despite the fact that a boat changed hands between the person supposed to be guarding the contract and the head honcho at Waste Pro [we’ll get to this part of the trash saga in a little bit] – we’re supposed to believe it’s all good. 

 

The Seal of the United States Naval Academy

This leaves a very uncomfortable potential reality on the table. Cadets at the Naval Academy are taught their code very early on in Annapolis – “I will not lie, cheat, or steal. And I will not tolerate those that do.”

 

Here’s to hoping the toleration will end soon. 

 

If you live in South Santa Rosa County – and this infringement on your rights bothers you as much as it does us: please consider signing up for our deposit program. Here’s what happens, we sign you up for future service [with a $10 deposit]. This helps to show the powers that be the people are serious about getting a choice when it comes to their trash service. When the County Approves our permit to operate in the area, you are on the priority list to get our service and the $10 goes toward your first monthly payment! If we are unable to get service in the south end of Santa Rosa County, or you just don’t want to use us – well refund your money in full. 

 

>Click this link and follow the instructions to sign up today! 

Enforcement of the Waste Franchise Contract is a Charade

Anthropologist Margaret Mead. She actually has a lot to do with this whole situation.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said that the first sign of human civilization popped up about 15,000 years ago as a broken, and then healed, femur. She argued that up to this time period, a broken leg was a death sentence. If the wolves didn’t get you, starvation would. The healing of the femur meant another human being took the time and effort to save the person with a broken leg, get them food, protect them from threats and generally be around the injured person until they were healed. The person did not have any immediate gain from helping, just the hope that working together (and in this case, putting their payment up front) would result in a beneficial relationship for the helper and the helped in the long run. 

 

Contracts are a lot like that relationship. There are expectations on both sides of the table. And both are expected to fulfill those contracts. To fail to meet one’s end of the bargain breaks the social contract based on trust that has been handed down from our ancestors. Breaking that contract, colluding to break it, or otherwise trying to unfairly take advantage of one party is wrong. We all agree to it as a condition of living together in peace with our neighbors. 

 

Now you might be thinking, well if a contract is so important and breaking it is so bad – then why are you encouraging the county to break the contract they have with Waste Pro?

 

We’re not. 

 

We’re talking about an agreement that the County government had with you before this contract was ever even thought about.

People might ask: “if you care so much about contracts, why are you asking the County to ‘break’ the one with Waste Pro?”
We’re not – The County’s contract, according to it’s own rules, is not a valid one. Plus, the County has an older contract, with you – the voting, taxpaying citizen.

 

It’s a boring-sounding document called the Santa Rosa County Purchasing Manual. Despite its name, it’s one of the most important documents in the County government. It’s also a contract with you, the taxpayer, that the government will do its best to spend taxpayer money wisely, not waste it, and definitely not defraud taxpayers by giving sweetheart deals. It even says in the manual that a purchase or acquisition made without a competitive bidding process is not valid. This contract they have with YOU directly conflicts with the late-night no-bid contract the County gave to Waste Pro. And your contract with the County came first and supersedes Waste Pro’s contract.  

 

For that reason, the contract is invalid and the County should either immediately put the contract out to bid properly and competitively, or allow the free market to reign supreme in South Santa Rosa County. 

 

So what does this have to do with the report on questionable behavior and activities between Waste Pro and Santa Rosa County?

 

Two of the three individuals who have had the misfortune of working in Waste Compliance Officer roles at the County have documented multiple times when they were told by their supervisors to ignore or downplay issues with Waste Pro, for Waste Pro’s benefit – and to the detriment of Santa Rosa County Residents. 

 

From the investigation: “To date, Borneo has fielded numerous documented complaints , but Waste Pro has not been fined.” (Page 12 of the report). 

 

In the case of Dahdah, the employee who resigned after just three weeks on the job at the County, he said in his exit interview with County HR that they needed to “look in to conflicts of interest between County employees and the Franchisee.” (page 11)

 

Having established that the contract between Waste Pro and the County is invalid and in violation of the greater contract between the County and the citizens and having established that Waste Pro is not even in compliance with that contract and that enforcement is not occuring it seems obvious that a course correction is coming. The only remaining question is who will make the correction, will it be the administration, the Commission or the courts?

If you live in South Santa Rosa County – and this infringement on your rights bothers you as much as it does us: please consider signing up for our deposit program. Here’s what happens, we sign you up for future service [with a $10 deposit]. This helps to show the powers that be the people are serious about getting a choice when it comes to their trash service. When the County Approves our permit to operate in the area, you are on the priority list to get our service and the $10 goes toward your first monthly payment! If we are unable to get service in the south end of Santa Rosa County, or you just don’t want to use us – well refund your money in full. 

>Click this link and follow the instructions to sign up today! 

The Chocolate Party

Everyone’s job has some unique jargon, especially around here. In the Navy, people don’t move from one place to another, they PCS. Acronyms turn to words (SNAFU or AWOL) or thousands of other slang words, acronyms, etc. 

 

In trash we have our jargon too – MPU is a missed pick up, “600+ canner” is a longer trash pickup route and ‘The Tipper’ is the hydraulic assistant on the back of the truck that helps us get the trash from your cart into the back of the truck. 

 

But believe me when I say to you – we at Adams Sanitation have never ever heard of a ‘chocolate party.’

 

In fact, the first time we heard of it was when we read through the report that assessed the nature of the relationship between Waste Pro and the County government that is supposed to be overseeing them.

 

It all went down when the county employees on the ground were taken on their ‘ride along’ with regional grand poobah for Waste Pro, Rick Chancey. While we are sure the conversation between Chancey and the County Employees, who later blew the whistle on the issue, was more than exciting – only a couple of things stuck out readily in the County Employees’ mind about the ride along. 

 

Let’s take a quick look at page 11 of the report:

 

Jordan Dahdah, then a Waste Compliance Officer with Santa Rosa County recounts this transaction:

 

“Chancey drove by Senator Broxson’s (State Senator Doug Broxson represents Santa Rosa County in the Florida Senate)  home and Chancey spoke of how he (allegedly) knew Senator Broxson personally and keeps an eye out for when he has debris. During the ride, Chancey said to Dahdah that waste management was not like the bridge system,” (the job Dahdah had just left to become a Waste Compliance Officer). Chancey then let Dahdah know “you don’t have to ride us too hard.”

 

Chancey then allegedly drove them to the houses of unnamed Santa Rosa County Commissioners. It was on this part of the tour that Chancey told Dahdah that he “throws chocolate parties [for the commissioners] where they ‘party it up and talk business.’” Chancey was quick to tell Dahdah that “It’s all legal, by the way.”

Usually when I get told, “don’t worry, man, it’s all legal” my journalism background kicks in and tells me ‘something is weird (beyond the general weirdness of an adult man of considerable physical stature talking about throwing chocolate parties) about this.’ If it’s so legal, why did Chancey have to tell Dahdah it was legal?

 

Dahdah, as you can guess, was thrown for a loop by this ride and began to seriously consider what he was doing for a career. In the report, Dahdah indicated that he “perceived that Chancey’s comments were a subtle show of force and intended to show he had powerful relationships.”

 

That’s what I would have taken from that ride along – that Waste Pro has the game locked up, and the people in charge of monitoring the contract should shut their mouths and get along. 

 

Dahdah did, too. After three weeks with the County, a guy who said he wanted a career in public service in his home of Santa Rosa County decided to hand in his resignation. 

 

On that note, the County has only been able to hire three people total in 6-months to monitor this contract, and one of those three was reassigned from his job at the landfill. The other two have both lodged complaints about the circumstances that gave rise to the external investigation (one of them in his exit interview after resigning). It would appear thus that the oversight and accountability that the County expected to create when it displaced the free-market is struggling.  

 

We’ll talk a little bit more about using the County as a way to ensure quality instead of the free market (which one do you think works better?) in the next couple of days. 




If you live in South Santa Rosa County – and this infringement on your rights bothers you as much as it does us: please consider signing up for our deposit program. Here’s what happens, we sign you up for future service [with a $10 deposit]. This helps to show the powers that be the people are serious about getting a choice when it comes to their trash service. When the County Approves our permit to operate in the area, you are on the priority list to get our service and the $10 goes toward your first monthly payment! If we are unable to get service in the south end of Santa Rosa County, or you just don’t want to use us – well refund your money in full. 

>Click this link and follow the instructions to sign up today! 

The Boat: The Nautical Nefariousness From a Simple Plexiglass Transaction

So the “Chocolate Party” thing was just weird. But the boat thing, after some pondering, is really just infuriating. 

So the “Chocolate Party” thing was just weird. But the boat thing, after some pondering, is really just infuriating. 


Nathan has a pretty awesome comic from Pearls Before Swine that kind of sums up the situation with the boat. It starts with a ruling from the US Supreme Court concerning giving money to candidates in order to get them to do what you want. “Spending large sums of money in connection with elections… does not give rise to quid pro quo corruption.” Seems far fetched, but ok. 


The Comic strip moves to the first panel. On it, a businessman comes to Congressman Rat to ‘not bribe’ him to get him to do something he wants to benefit his business. 


Congressman Rat immediately says that he will take the money, but not for any favors, as that would be illegal. The businessman completely agrees that it would be illegal to engage in a quid pro quo. 


The businessman then immediately shifts to ‘another conversation’ about a bill that he doesn’t like that rat will soon have to vote on. Rat quickly responds, “I see, i will consider your position without regard to the limitless sums you can now hand out.”


Next comes an average Joe, who bringing nothing, asks him to vote the opposite the way that the businessman wants him to. Congressman Rat says to the average Joe “I will give your consideration the exact same consideration I will give the man who just single handedly funded my entire campaign.” The comic strip ends with the characters flying off to candyland on unicorns to underline how ridiculous the idea that what happens in the previous panels is actually what happens. 


And that brings us to the boat. 


The Environmental Manager for Santa Rosa County, sold Rick Chancey, Waste Pro’s Division Manager, a boat for “fair market value.” Now you might be saying to yourself “well, if it’s fair market value, then there isn’t an issue.”


That’s what I said too, until someone brought up how the transaction went down. Natasha Borneo, the whistle blower who overheard the transaction details says this: boating in general was brought up in conversation by the manager, who then “told Chancey he should buy a boat and that the manager even had a boat that he could sell [Chancey].” 



You yacht to be kidding me, buoy.

 

The manager brought up boating, Told Chancey he should buy a boat, and then sold him his own boat that he had for sale. Think about it from Chancey’s point of view: This guy, who has the power to fine your company $100,000s of dollars and even start the process of terminating your lucrative multi-million dollar no-bid contract just told you that you should start boating and that he has a boat he can sell you to make that happen. Wouldn’t you understand that to mean that if you buy this boat from him, you’d be in his good graces?

I would. 

Next up – the Environmental Manager tells the investigators that the no-bid contract to Waste Pro was a really bad idea. 

If you live in South Santa Rosa County – and this infringement on your rights bothers you as much as it does us: please consider signing up for our deposit program. Here’s what happens, we sign you up for future service [with a $10 deposit]. This helps to show the powers that be the people are serious about getting a choice when it comes to their trash service. When the County Approves our permit to operate in the area, you are on the priority list to get our service and the $10 goes toward your first monthly payment! If we are unable to get service in the south end of Santa Rosa County, or you just don’t want to use us – well refund your money in full. 

>Click this link and follow the instructions to sign up today! 

*‘When the Man Under Investigation Says This Whole Thing Was A Bad Idea – It Was A Bad Idea.’

We think it’s great to admit mistakes. It’s cathartic, I’m sure it’s good for heart health and it’s just generally the right thing to do. 

 

So we want to take a minute to thank the County Environmental Manager for correctly asserting that when the County decided to offer an exclusive, no-bid contract for trash service in the South Part of Santa Rosa County after ECUA said it was no longer going to provide service, the County was in the wrong. In their defense, they were under a lot of pressure to get someone, anyone, to pick up the trash.

But, the County still needed to follow its own policy. This purchasing policy states that an agreement with the County for more than relatively small amounts of money has to be competitively bid out, otherwise it’s a violation of the purchasing policy and therefore null and void. 

Hill told investigators that “He is especially disappointed about the allegations raised in this investigation because he was a part of the staff-driven effort to have the County place the waste management contract out for bid. He said that from the outset of this process, since ECUA announced its decision to no longer provide service, he and the staff wanted to avoid the appearance of any impropriety. He believed that putting the contract out for bid would have helped accomplish that.”

So, the guy in charge of administering the contract that just isn’t being administered well – or so says the mountain of complaints we’ve seen on social media since this whole fiasco started – thinks that this contract should have been properly and competitively bid out in the first place. 

Then why wasn’t it?

Why would the County knowingly violate its own purchasing policy – understanding that the consequence was an invalid contract to serve South Santa Rosa County? 

We’re not sure, but we’re hoping someone from the County will soon enlighten us – and you too. 

If you live in South Santa Rosa County – and this infringement on your rights bothers you as much as it does us: please consider signing up for our deposit program. Here’s what happens, we sign you up for future service [with a $10 deposit]. This helps to show the powers that be the people are serious about getting a choice when it comes to their trash service. When the County Approves our permit to operate in the area, you are on the priority list to get our service and the $10 goes toward your first monthly payment! If we are unable to get service in the south end of Santa Rosa County, or you just don’t want to use us – well refund your money in full. 

>Click this link and follow the instructions to sign up today! 

Competition: The American Way

Picking winners and losers: Bureaucracy vs. The Free-Market

What this whole thing comes down to is the fact that having government try and stay on top of a trash company to provide good service, while also extinguishing all competition for the hand-selected trash company, simply doesn’t work or at least it sure doesn’t seem to work in Santa Rosa County. 

Do you love your cable company? What about the electricity company you use? I’m guessing probably not. You tolerate them at best. And they don’t care, because there isn’t anything you can do about it except stick it to the man and cancel your internet and sit in your steaming hot house in the middle of summer and play cards (and not that internet gambling stuff because you will be off-grid, obviously.) 

Companies with monopolies have crappy customer service, because they don’t have to have good customer service – good customer service would mean lower profits and really, why go to all the trouble of securing a monopoly if not for more profit, right? 

But we don’t have to have a monopoly on trash service in Santa Rosa County. We can use good old-fashioned American Free Markets to fix the problem of crappy service. With competition, Waste Pro (or Adams Sanitation, or Waste Management or whomever) has to get up every day and do the best job possible. If they don’t, their customers won’t tolerate it and they’ll go somewhere else. It’s God’s own truth that we at Adams Sanitation start every morning by thinking about how we can prove to our customers (and future customers) that what we provide far exceeds what someone is going to get from Waste Pro.

I’d be willing to bet even the people in North Santa Rosa County with Waste Pro have noticed an increase in their service – because Waste Pro is having to compete with us. Even if you don’t ever plan to use Adams Sanitation, your lot will improve just by having competition in the market. 

County minders (especially since there is only one for 80,000 homes in Santa Rosa County right now) simply can’t reproduce what the open market can. This is Santa Rosa County, one of the most free market supporting places on earth – why don’t we use the free market to make the services being provided better? 

If you live in South Santa Rosa County – and this infringement on your rights bothers you as much as it does us: please consider signing up for our deposit program. Here’s what happens, we sign you up for future service [with a $10 deposit]. This helps to show the powers that be the people are serious about getting a choice when it comes to their trash service. When the County Approves our permit to operate in the area, you are on the priority list to get our service and the $10 goes toward your first monthly payment! If we are unable to get service in the south end of Santa Rosa County, or you just don’t want to use us – well refund your money in full. 

>Click this link and follow the instructions to sign up today! 

‘If There Isn’t a Problem, Why is the County Acting Now?’

After all of this, if the County wants to say there is no collusion, that there is nothing wrong going on here and that we are just being ridiculous, we should ask them to explain the changes they are making to rectify the non-problem problems that this report partially uncovered. 

At the beginning of the report, attorney Michelle Anchors said that she did not specifically see evidence of improper dealings between the County and Waste Pro. However, the lack of operating procedures, effective communications internally and with Waste Pro and positive working relationships, have caused a perception of favoritism and mistrust that the Waste Pro contract is being fully enforced. 

In the separate internal-but-still-totally-unbiased-we-swear report from the County staff – staff found that their coworkers hadn’t done anything wrong, but also said that “there is reason to believe that some of the situations described in the complaint did occur as they were reported.”

🤔

In the final comprehensive report (which included Mrs. Anchors’ report and the ‘investigations’ by county staff, even though no one did anything wrong, recommendations were made to potentially discipline County staff involved in this incident. (I thought no one did anything wrong???), They also recommended that they create standard operating procedures to enforce the contract (which, come on, should have been in place before this circus if they were serious about enforcing the contract) and force the Waste Compliance Branch to report directly to the Administration for at least six months. 

While the first two look really bad, it’s the third one that caught my attention. There are several levels of bureaucracy between the County Administrator the boots on the ground- Waste Compliance officers. So if no one did anything wrong, why is the guy who is in charge of more than 700 people now directly monitoring everything that goes on in one of his more than 30 divisions that he trusts his other supervisors to take care of?

Micromanaging is not a luxury in an organization as large as the County. So why would you choose to micromanage this division if they didn’t have some serious issues?

If you live in South Santa Rosa County – and this infringement on your rights bothers you as much as it does us: please consider signing up for our deposit program. Here’s what happens, we sign you up for future service [with a $10 deposit]. This helps to show the powers that be the people are serious about getting a choice when it comes to their trash service. When the County Approves our permit to operate in the area, you are on the priority list to get our service and the $10 goes toward your first monthly payment! If we are unable to get service in the south end of Santa Rosa County, or you just don’t want to use us – well refund your money in full. 

>Click this link and follow the instructions to sign up today! 

Christopher Saul is the Chief Marketing Officer for Adams Sanitation. When he isn’t slinging hot garbage from the keyboard – he is spending time with his family. He also likes to watch his SMU Mustangs play football and basketball. 

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Nothing says ‘we’re doing the right thing’ more than hiring a lawyer that knows how to hide stuff from the media! And of course, matters undiscovered by the media generally remain undiscovered by the public too.

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