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West Deptford Mayor Addresses Leaf Collection Issues at Gov't Meeting

Late-falling leaves and an early snowfall led to late pickup, Mayor Ray Chintall said. Committeewoman Denice DiCarlo said new equipment and overtime could have helped.

In the days since the season’s first snowfall, West Deptford Mayor Ray Chintall heard the same thing repeatedly: inconsistent leaf collection in the township is unacceptable.

On Thursday night, he agreed with his constituents.

“Before you interpret that as a blanket indictment of our West Deptford workforce, you are mistaken,” Chintall said when addressing the issue at Thursday night’s committee meeting.

Chintall said the late-falling leaves and the early snowfall affected leaf collection not just in the township, but throughout the area. He said he is requesting detailed information on leaf collection from the township Department of Public Works.

Chintall noted that two of the township’s three leaf collection machines were broken, but have since been repaired. One suffered a broken impeller, he said and the other broke by human error, possibly due to a lack of training.

Committeewoman Denice DiCarlo, who chairs the public works committee, reminded Chintall that she'd told him for two years they needed new equipment. Chintall countered that a brand new machine still would have suffered from a broken impeller.

DiCarlo also pointed to last year’s budget cuts, which saw the leaf collection budget fall from from $100,000 to $40,000. The township collects leaves in three rounds, and had to allow some public works employees overtime on Dec. 28 to ensure complete leaf pickup.

Weather didn’t permit earlier pickup, due to multiple days of snowfall and severe weather warnings that brought with it icy roads and associated dangers.

Still, DiCarlo argued, overtime should’ve been implemented earlier.

“You performed well in an emergency situation, but it was a situation of your own doing,” DiCarlo told Chintall. 

“In prior years, we had seasonal employees handle leaves and work weekends...if you’re going to tell us we can’t pick up leaves on Saturdays, that’s going to have an impact.”

Chintall said the decision to use overtime should be left up to management.

Initially, he said, the promise of overtime might lead to employees not working hard to get done quickly so they could pick up some overtime, but later clarified that he was speaking from his personal experience.

“I wasn’t directing that statement to our workers,” Chintall said following Thursday’s meeting. “Our workers work hard.”

The two broken leaf vacuum machines have been repaired, according to Chintall.

David Sileo January 19, 2014 at 06:59 PM
I like Denver and SF (and actually started this post at 11am but got side tracked). Wanted to comment on the leaf issue, WD services in general and the excellent comments of Eagles Fan, only one of a few. The rest were typical finger pointing and blame game. 1 The mayor gave a sincere overview of the leaf issue as it related to weather, budget and equipment breakdowns. Take him for his word that the committee is trying to keep our services constant and timely and I am confident the committee will work together to keep our services operating. 2 The ongoing debate about who is to blame for WDs debt as well as how the current budget effected slow leaf collection is ridiculous. We need to optimize and streamline our municipal services and flex employees as needed across township needs. Particularly when it comes to services. I am getting a sense that this is the path the mayor is trying to merge onto. Personally has a 30 year resident of WD I have found the vast majority of township employees to fantastic. Most of my contact has been with the folks in the field and there has probably been zero times that someone neglected to greet and say hello. I have found utter respect and know we have an incredible cadre of people to do the job to carry West Deptford forward. 3 The comment by Eagles Fan was spot on. I am by no means saying we should be doing the work of the township employees but if you look at some of our practices as humans that consume our trash and disposal habits may be unreasonable. Perhaps there is some small mulching practices one could undertake to lessen the burden of "waste". Recycling; I know just by the minimal requirmets we are so under the threshold of what we could recycle and teuse as a township. So again to EaglesFan point maybe we can step it up, do the right thing and take an extra step for our environment. By nature these sort of behaviors can lead to positive financial and better health outcomes. So EaglesFan I APPLAUD YOU for offering a true, sincere recommendation for making our township better!
zeke carey January 19, 2014 at 07:13 PM
that's all well and good about generating enuff initiative to mow and mulch. driving through the township there is not that many houses require leaf pick up.a lot of residents have private lawn care and fall services that provide the essential disposal of leaves. gary wasn't that the case when they appointed Eric he was a democrat and I'm sure there were individuals that were just as qualified no matter what party they belonged to. Like anything it's who you know RIGHT GARY.
David Sileo January 19, 2014 at 08:16 PM
Zeke-not quite sure which neighborhood your in. But even with sparse trees in the front of homes our neighborhood as many in WD generate a great amount of leaves. Agreed there are many residents utilizing lawn services (certainly not the majority) but most lawn services collect leaves but don't dispose of them theirselves but put them in the street for the township to pick up. So your argument for resident contribution is really not valid. Trash in your town, placing something in the right container across the country or plugging in your electrical vehicle (Ernie) is all things we need to ponder.

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