As the committee for the Carver, Marion, Wareham Regional Refuse Disposal District opened the December 27 meeting, Chairman Stephen Cushing, with relief in his voice announced, “We have a signed contract with Jeff Osuch!”
After months of failed contract negotiations with its first pick for the position to head up the beleaguered multi-town agency, Jeffrey Osuch of Fairhaven accepted the terms of the employment contract, wasting no time in establishing how he’ll move forward.
“I’m glad to be here,” Osuch told the committee, “and hope to help you.” He said that he’d be calling on the three town administrators to understand the unique needs of each community, as well as goals for the future of waste management. “I’m here today to learn and I have a pile of questions,” he said.
Osuch comes with decades of experience having been the executive secretary for the Town of Fairhaven and the superintendent of the Fairhaven Department of Public Works for a total of four decades of service.
Osuch asked for a complete set of all meeting minutes from for the past year while stating it would take a “good three or four weeks to learn as much as possible by listening to concerns.” He said he plans on visiting the Benson Brook transfer station in Marion very soon.
In attendance and expressing their pleasure at Osuch’s appointment were board members David Menard, Gary Buckminster, Bill Duggin, David Robertson, and Marion Finance Director Judy Mooney.
Mooney has been assisting the committee with financial documents and ongoing operational paperwork during what, at times, has been mass confusion in the wake of an embezzlement scandal that began in late 2017.
In January 2018, former CMWRRDD executive director Ray Pickles and his wife, Diane Bondi-Pickles, along with former Carver health agent Robert Tinkham, Jr., were accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the disposal district coffers. Ensuing forensic audits uncovered the massive scope of abnormalities in financial recordkeeping Pickles had been entrusted with handling.
During this meeting, committee members were hesitant to discuss the current status of the ongoing civil court case, but noted that at the present time things seemed to be at a standstill. This was brought up when discussing invoices the disposal district had received from their legal representation, KP Law.
Mooney said that she had received invoices for $12,400; $22,000; $22,532; and $13,000; prompting Cushing to wonder aloud, “We owe them, but we need to find out how much more.”
Turning to Osuch, Cushing said, “Now is the time to gather information and find out what the district wants.” He said it is critical that the district is prepared and ready for the 2019 annual town meeting when the municipalities present their fiscal year 2020 budgets.
“We should have a good idea of where we are heading,” Cushing said.
Osuch asked to see any and all existing contracts and agreements.
There was some discussion about new landfill stickers being distributed and questions regarding how and who would police the use of sticker. It was determined that policing would continue by the landfill employees and that the individual towns would continue to issue permits.
Robertson, a selectman from the Town of Carver, said that he had been approached by a veteran in his community about the possibility of issuing landfill stickers to disabled veterans for free as a way to “thank them” for their service. After further discussion, the committee postponed any changes in permitting structures and fees at this time, but would consider the suggestion at a future meeting.
There was also discussion about scrap metal that had gone missing at the landfill and the lack of any documentation that supported the sale of metals. The committee members agreed that additional signage was needed to alert people using the landfill that metals were not for the taking.
The next meeting of the committee for the Carver, Marion, Wareham Regional Refuse Disposal District is scheduled for January 24 at 5:00 pm at the Marion Police Station.
Carver, Marion, Wareham Regional Refuse Disposal District
By Marilou Newell