The following is a message from Mayor Susan Shin Angulo.
I want to take a moment to update you on the ongoing and severely troubling lack of service received by the Township’s solid waste contractor, Republic Services “Republic”, and the efforts taken thus far by the Township to bring trash, recycling, and yard waste services back to the standards that Cherry Hill residents deserve.
As you are aware, Republic’s service failures are creating unacceptably long delays in trash, recycling, and yard waste pickups. Throughout the past few years, we have endured intermittent delays brought on as a consequence of the pandemic. With each instance, my administration met with Republic’s senior representatives in an effort to ensure full service restoration, and at times instituted liquidated damages—essentially fining Republic and incentivizing them to allocate adequate resources to the Township.
More recently, yard waste pickups by Republic once again fell behind and the Township took immediate action to supplement pickups with our own resources and manpower—paid for by withholdings from Republic. This effort was ultimately successful and brought all collections up-to-date. Unfortunately, only a few days later the Township was told by Republic that a significant number of Republic employees were fired for-cause, and as a result, trash, recycling, and yard waste delays began to accrue yet again.
This time, the Township met with Republic’s senior representatives, and advised in no uncertain terms the severe consequences the company may face should their level of service continue to fall so far below adequate levels. I want to share with you the results of that meeting, as well as the short and long-term solutions we have for you, the residents we serve.
Republic has assured the Township to expect all missed pickups to be collected by Tuesday, July 5th. Republic will accomplish this by allocating two additional trucks covering two additional routes each day.
Effective immediately any resident who wishes to directly drop off their refuse may do so at the following temporary dumpster site locations:
- Carusi Middle School – 315 Roosevelt Dr.
- Cherry Hill High School West – 2101 Chapel Ave.
- Kingston Swim Club – 116 Deland Ave.
- Croft Farm – 100 Bortons Mill Rd.
- Cherry Hill Department of Public Works – 1 Perina Blvd.
- Woodcrest Elementary School – 400 South Cranford Rd.
- Cherry Hill High School East – 1750 Kresson Rd.
Again, these temporarily sites will be online and will remain until all pickups are current.
As for long-term solutions, Republic will be installing new improved GPS routing systems by the end of this year that will allow any new drivers to service a routes be unfamiliar to them. This system is already in place for Republic’s commercial dumpster routes. One of the more frustrating aspect of the service failures has been that some routes are skipped entirely, while other see only see minor delays. Our Township DPW knows the routes with the longest delays, and while this is promptly communicated to Republic, they are nevertheless unable to service the longest delayed routes until they possess a driver familiar with that route. We seek to improve this flawed system.
Republic is in conversations to improve the desirability of their compensation package to new drivers. Republic continues to cite an ongoing shortage of labor and Commercial Driver License (CDL) holders as the central reason behind the delays. The unfortunate truth is this same reality is playing out in towns and cities across America. While the lingering effects of the pandemic continue to shift and impact the economy and labor market in many ways, this measure is critical for Republic to ensure employee retention.
Cherry Hill Township has applied for and received accreditation as an in-house CDL training facility for our DPW employees. Currently about 80% of our DPW employees currently hold CDLs. Additionally, the Township is continuing to explore the option of purchasing our own trash collection trucks. Though supply chain issues continue to strain truck and equipment manufacturers globally, we may be better equipped to supplement any delays in the future without impacting residents if the Township obtains this critical equipment. The purchase of this equipment can be paid for by withholdings from Republic’s bills.
I want to stress how deeply troubling this has been, and how sorry I am for those who have suffered from these service failures. I will continue to push Republic to ensure that our Cherry Hill residents and taxpayers receive the service they deserve and need and to keep you informed through my Mayor’s weekly email update, the Township’s social media pages, through Nixle, and in responding to your calls and emails. Please reach out to me at my office with any questions or concerns you may have. I greatly appreciate your time, and it is an honor to serve you as Mayor of Cherry Hill.
Susan Shin Angulo