BY BUDDY NEVINS
The battle for Broward’s $1 billion garbage stream has moved into a new phase – with a newly-combative upstart competitor who has plans to hire more lobbyists to work every local city hall.
Sun/Bergeron has a signed contract to handle the garbage disposal in Miramar.
The contract was voted on, signed and handed to the Sun/Bergeron team of lobbyists and lawyers on Tuesday night at the Miramar City Commission meeting.
It’s the backstory I obtained from exclusive interviews that is interesting, especially if you don’t live in Miramar.
Sun/Bergeron fight now will spread to every city in Broward.
The firm will use individual lobbyists who have contacts in various city halls. It will be a massive, expensive attempt to steal even more business from Wheelabrator Technologies.
The huge Sun/Bergeron lobbying effort will be matched by Wheelabrator’s bevy of lobbyists guarding that company’s turf.
The lobbying fees alone — tens of thousand per city — could be counted as economic stimulus.
Wheelabrator has held a near monopoly on waste disposal in Broward since the 1980s, having contracts with 26 of Broward’s 31 cities. Since those contracts expires next year, multi-millionaire entrepreneur Ron Bergeron and his partner Southern Waste Systems of Palm Beach County saw a chance to grab some of the business.
We’re talking up to a billion dollars in moldy orange rinds, wet diapers, dirty rags and everything else that goes in your garbage.
While Bergeron and his partner plot their lobbying effort, they decided to take care of some old business.
Ever since beginning his campaign against Wheelabrator, Bergeron has been plagued by relentless, one-sided attacks by one media reporter who also writes a blog. Almost every time the issue came up for a vote in a city or at the county commission, this reporter would allege some wrongdoing on the part of Southern Waste.
Strangely, this reporter largely ignored the slew of allegations and fines paid by Wheelabrator and its parent Waste Management.
Bergeron decided he needed some added muscle in the media world.
He shoved Sun/Bergeron’s previous local PR firm Boardroom Communications into the background. The firm,which will still do work for Sun/Bergeron in some capacity, seemed unable to counter the barrage of negative publicity from this one reporter. Or get enough positive media attention for Sun/Bergeron’s effort.
So Sun/Bergeron hired the big guns at the nationwide Hill Knowlton PR firm. The firm already hit pay dirt — the first news release, a positive one on the Miramar contact being awarded was used in dozens of outlets.
Bergeron didn’t stop with just good news releases. He had a big name law firm threaten the reporter with a lawsuit.
Believe me, Bergeron has the money to hire the best attorneys and make this reporter end what Sun/Beregeon believe is one-sided reporting. Or at least cost his employers thousands upon thousands of dollars.
( The reporter goes nameless here, because I’m not trying to embarrass him.)
The good news is that finally we have competition in a field that one company controlled for too long. The competition will bring cheaper garbage disposal costs.
That’s a good thing.
Another good thing is that Bergeron has the cash and clout to push thie competition across Broward…and give a better deal for all taxpayers.