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Republic Services Inc. warns of legal action against Effingham County Commission
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Effingham County's longtime trash collector thinks a proposed change in service providers stinks. It has warned government officials that it will contest the plan if it is approved at Tuesday's Effingham County Commission meeting or subsequent ones.

Republic Services Inc. says the commission is on the verge of offering a contract for trash pickup that might cost taxpayers $2 million in excess of what it would charge. A vote on the matter was tabled by commissioners last week after county staff recommended a contract for trash collection be awarded to Atlantic Waste.

In an Aug. 15 letter to the county officials, Republic Services Inc. attorney Robert C. Norman outlined his client's legal position. Republic has collected trash in the county since 1997.

"Republic is a fully qualified and responsible vendor that currently provides solid waste collection and recycling services in Effingham County," Norman said. "Its experience and qualifications to perform the contract based on technical merit and value to the county and its citizens have been demonstrated during years of providing those services to the county and its citizens. Republic has submitted a fully responsible and responsible proposal that is significantly lower than the total cost of the Atlantic Waste proposal, even as modified by Atlantic Waste without notice to or give the same opportunity as Republic."

There are six companies vying for the contract. In his letter, Norman challenged the qualifications of Atlantic Waste and AllGreen Waste Inc., saying both lack the three years of experience of collecting trash in a similar-sized as as required by Georgia law.  

He also said, "It has been suggested that a desire for 'change' is or may be a reason for the staff recommendation and/or an ultimate decision by the board of commissioners to award the contract to a vendor other than Republic. 'Change' is not among the responsible vendor criteria or proposal evaluation factors mentioned anywhere in the RFP (request for proposal) , nor is it a legally valid criterion for a determination by the board of commissioners to award this contract, or any similar contract. Applying such a subjective and arbitrary factor in the determination for a local government contract award makes the process ripe for improper political favors and favoritism that are contrary to and work against the best interests of the citizens to receive solid waste services from an experienced, qualified service provider at the lowest 'responsible price.' "

Tuesday's county commission meeting is slated to start at 5 p.m. at 601 N. Laurel St. in Springfield.