Nobody’s Talking Trash About Our Great Garbage Service, But Should It Be Put Out To Bid?

Gov 2.0 reform: competitive bidding of SF’s garbage contractIn a city where so much seems to be broken, San Francisco garbage pick up is one of those things that always seems to work right. But one Supervisor is asking a smart question – why isn’t this contract put out to competitive bidding

San Francisco’s garbage isn’t picked up by a city agency, but by a private company called Recology (formerly known as NorCal and Sunset Scavengers before that). The fine men and women of Recology have a semi-cult status in some neighborhoods because of their above and beyond attitude and their efficiency at the tough job of garbage collection.

But unlike most other cities in the Bay Area with private garbage collection, our contract is not put out to bid. Supervisor David Campos has been asking “why not?” And he has been talking about a potential ballot measure to require a competitive bidding process.

While it is hard to imagine anyone else doing as well as Recology, the supervisor does make a good point. If we are really serious about government reform, shouldn’t we implement some of the very basics of sound management – like competitive bidding?

We asked the question on the latest Reset Poll – and given how popular the company and its employees are, we were somewhat surprised to see strong support for a measure to require competitive bidding. 

Overall, 83% of the respondents supported the measure, with 16% opposing. Measures like this have been on the ballot before and failed after the company made their case. But for right now, our Reset Poll audience is squarely in favor of that Reform 1.0 idea - competitive bidding.

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Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137