Subject: Questions



The Carroll Cox Show

P.O. Box  89-4202

Mililani, HI  96789




Mr. David Shiraishi,

City and County of Honolulu

Environmental Services Refuse Division


Dear Mr. Shiraishi:


I am preparing for a discussion on my radio show regarding trash pickup and the operating conditions of the city's trash trucks.  Also, I will be discussing overtime paid out due to the lack of operable trucks.   At this time, I would like to ask your assistance in clarifying a few issues on this matter.   Can you please answer the following questions:


It is our understanding that yesterday, 5/31/11, the Middle street yard had 9 drivers that were not able to pick up trash on their routes.   That trash is still waiting to be picked up as of today, 6/1/11.   The Pearl City yard had approximately 4 drivers unable to pick up trash on their routes because they did not have trucks that were operable.   On the same day other drivers were able to collect overtime for driving the routes that were not picked up by the drivers whose trucks were not operable.  On 5/31/11  at approximately 9:20 am,  I observed approximately nine City and County of Honolulu refuse trucks leaving the Mililani cemetery.  A further check revealed that those nine trucks were leaving the cemetery after being driven there by city employees to pay their respect to the deceased spouse of a retired city employee. Yes, this occurred with the Pearl City Superintendent's approval. The retiree worked at the Pearl City Yard. These actions of the drivers did not attribute to overtime.


My questions:



How many automated side loading trash trucks are inoperable? 46 for seven base yards. 


How many rear end loading trash trucks are inoperable? 10 for seven base yards 


How many front end loading trash trucks are inoperable? 4 for three base yards that have these trucks 


What is the total number of trash trucks (all types)in the City and County's fleet? 155 for seven base yards 


How many bulky item trucks are inoperable? 6 for seven base yards 


Why was overtime paid to drivers to drive the routes of the drivers that had no trucks? Some drivers without trucks waited for trucks to return to the yard after the routes were completed and then serviced their routes.  Some drivers, with trucks, serviced another route after completing their route. Some drivers, without trucks, waited to 3:30 p.m. and went home at the end of their 10-hour workday. 


Why weren't drivers with inoperable trucks be allowed to use the working trucks to service their assigned routes later in the day to avoid paying overtime? Overtime is voluntary. Drivers without trucks had the option to service their routes, but left at 3:30 p.m. because the City cannot force employees to work overtime. 


What factors do you attribute to the high build up or backlog of trucks that are inoperable? The main factor causing a shortage of operable trucks is the unusually high number of major repairs.  Some repairs involve partial disassembly and welding of critical components. The work is time consuming and must be done properly or risk a recurrence. Most of these types of repairs take several days to complete. On a positive note, the number of available trucks has improved.


 Are drivers and trucks from the Waianae or other districts being used to support the yards with inoperable trucks?  Yes. 


Are you using private haulers to pick up bulky items due to the lack of operational trucks?  Yes, we have a contract with a company to assist us with bulky item collection when needed.