“Internal Documents Reveal City’s Lax Oversight of Republic Services”

San Angelo LIVE!  
January 18, 2017


The City of San Angelo’s “closed” negotiations with Republic Services enhanced the notion of the Good ‘Ol boy Network” in City contract procedures. This is a colorful phrase to describe the Republic Services’ business workflow to get lucrative contracts with municipalities in Texas.

As a result of our reporting, the mayor’s hand-picked successor was defeated 65-35 percent in the May 2017 election. Since the Republic Services saga, the City has been more responsive to citizen input before making major decisions. It’s been a net gain for San Angelo’s economic development.

This was a series, started by myself in 2014. In 2017, we hired Wayne Dolcefino to further help illustrate the fiasco.

The narrative is that Republic was exposed for overcharging commercial customers via “Environmental Fees” for years. San Angelo is a “protected” market where the City guarantees exclusivity in commercial and residential trash collection. Because the City grants exclusivity, all charges must be approved by council via ordinance before enacting. Republic just added the additional charges to commercial customers without fanfare and got away with it. That is, they got away with it until we exposed it. This was a multimedia effort, using Facebook video to better illustrate the issue for even the most uninformed voter.

The series was so effective that the City and the local Gannett newspaper teamed up to attack us. They failed. The trash controversy is a leading issue in all City elections, even to this day.

In 20127, it started here:

Internal Documents Reveal City’s Lax Oversight of Republic Services
LINK to content online

Republic Services Clams Up After City Demands Answers
LINK 2 to content online

A Big, Wet Kiss: The City’s $342,569.90 Remittance to Republic Services
LINK 3 to content online

City Comes Clean on Republic Services Payments, Somewhat.
LINK 4 to content online

Councilwoman Farmer: LIVE! is Twisting Facts with Trashy Hype
LINK 5 to content online

Republic Services Pounds Small San Angelo Entrepreneurs with its Legal Hammer
LINK 6 to content online

Study: San Angelo Commercial Trash Rates are 183% Higher than Abilene’s
LINK 7 to content online

Was Villarreal For the Trash Contract Before He was Against It? You decide
LINK 8 to content online

San Angelo Mayoral Candidate Calls for Open Market for Trash Hauling
LINK 9 to content online

KLST Drops the Trash Bomb, Villarreal Ambivalent
LINK 10 to content online
(The Gannett paper took the City of San Angelo’s side and attempted to derail our work by attacking our credibility. We had a real newspaper war ongoing.)

It’s High Noon for the San Angelo Standard-Times
LINK 11 to content online

City Lashes Out in Angry Taxpayer-Funded Assault on San Angelo LIVE!
LINK 12 to content online

Our response to the City of San Angelo attack on our credibility:
LINK 13 to content online

Dolcefino is Back With Questions for Tony Villarreal
LINK 14 to content online
(For the above story, Wayne Dolcefino was almost killed in a head-on crash on U.S. 87 in Melvin, Texas. He was on his way from Houston to San Angelo to pick me up to go finish this piece about San Angelo mayoral candidate Tony Villarreal’s connections with Republic Services. We were scheduled to go to Fort Stockton together and finish the filming. Hyde finished the groundwork on these pieces while Dolcefino was in a trauma center in San Antonio. Dolcefino is still in a wheelchair.)

TV Reporter Wayne Dolcefino Badly Injured in Crash on West Texas Highway
LINK 15 to content online

This is included for background on the 2014 trash contract. I wrote it in 2015:
Details Emerge That the City Negotiated
Significantly Higher Trash Fees Than Originally Proposed
LINK 16 to content online

This was an incredible amount of work conducted by a small, start-up online news company in a highly-contested battle over audience development with a 106-year-old newspaper in a city of 100,000 citizens. We took this story on with great risk to our survivability and financial viability.

Submitted by Joe Hyde.

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