R & T Murphy Trucking, owned by city employee, hired for 2012 leaf removal
City commissioners approved Monday a contract for leaf removal with the same company hired to do the work last year — a company partially owned by a city employee.
R & T Murphy Trucking, 1627 W. River Road, is partially owned by Street Superintendent Robert Murphy.
Under state law, elected officials who would be considering a contract that is owned, or partially owned, by a city employee must receive notice one week prior to the contract being considered, and the employee’s interest must be disclosed in the minutes of the meeting — both requirements met by City Manager Kathie Grinzinger.
“In addition, we’ve placed other safeguards in place to assure that Mr. Murphy will have no involvement in the billing or accounting for any services performed by his company,” Grinzinger said.
Out of the nine companies that were invited to bid on the job, R & T Murphy Trucking was the lone responding bid at $79.95 per hour, which was less than last year.
Commissioners approved this wage with the specification that the pickup and shipping cost not exceed $25,000.
Commissioner Jim Holton said he had no hesitation about hiring R & T Murphy Trucking for the job.
“I’ve known this firm for a while doing the street work, (I’m) very pleased with what they do,” Holton said. “They’re the low bidder and I have no concerns about this project.”
Mount Pleasant has been offering removal of leaves for residents for decades, but in 2011 several changes were made to the program for efficiency and cost. Pickup schedules were altered and semi-trucks were used to haul leaves out of the city, which allowed for larger loads and less trips.
While on the topic of leaf removal, Commissioner Sharon Tilmann raised the question of what residents should do with their leaves until the pickup schedule begins.
“I’ve noticed that residents all over town are raking their leaves into the streets, and I really don’t know how to advise them,” Tilmann said. “The leaves didn’t hang on this year long enough, they’re falling earlier and there are some lawns that are literally covered.”
Tilmann said residents have complained that if they wait until the end of October to rake, their lawns will be a mess.
Director of Public Works Roger Rousse told Tillman that residents do not have to wait.
“We are picking up leaves now with a street sweeper,” he said. “If it’s not a large volume amount and the street sweeper can handle it, we will send them out to pick them up.”
Commissioner Jon Joslin said the recycling center will also take bags or loads of leaves.
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