Categories: Schenectady County
A decision to consider Montgomery County’s solid waste coordinator for the vacant MOSA director job signals a willingness to keep the 21-year-old public authority operating, an official said this week.
The governing board of the Montgomery-Otsego-Schoharie solid waste management authority recently voted to pursue an employment contract with Dennis Heaton, who was hired in February.
Heaton, who ran the local Sunset Refuse Co. locally before working for Montgomery County, said Friday he sees the new job as a challenge he brings experience to.
“It’s a unique challenge and a good opportunity for everybody within the three-county region,” Heaton said.
Within the past two years, legislators in Montgomery County were eyeing the 2014 end of the service agreement as the end of the county’s interaction with the public authority altogether.
But Heaton and others this week said new leadership at the authority may help preserve the structure that’s been in place for more than two decades to coordinate the disposal of waste in the three-county region.
“I believe the [MOSA] board wants to work to make MOSA work,” Heaton said.
About four years remain in the service agreement, a contract that binds the three-county waste stream under MOSA oversight and there is not much time to create a new system in each county, MOSA chairman John Thayer said.
“Montgomery County really hasn’t been working on a plan beyond 2014,” said Thayer, supervisor of the Montgomery county town of Root and one of eight MOSA governing board members appointed by the counties.
Schoharie County has not made any decisions regarding participation in MOSA past 2014 either, but Otsego County officials have indicated they want to go in a different direction in terms of solid waste.
The MOSA board earlier this year ousted former longtime MOSA director Gil Chichester under a retirement agreement that included a three-year retroactive pay increase.
Chichester’s unwavering attention to specific provisions of the service agreement drew the ire of county officials, especially those in Montgomery County, who sought to lessen the cost of waste removal.
Poor interaction between the county and Chichester led to MOSA suing Montgomery County twice and the relationship was constantly surrounded by discord.
Thayer said with new leadership, he thinks MOSA could serve as a usable structure for waste removal.
“I believe that it can work. With the right direction, the right leadership, it’s something that’s a benefit. But it’s going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of due diligence,” Thayer said.
The MOSA board will develop an employment agreement with Heaton in upcoming weeks, and Thayer said he is hoping to get that done for early December.