Broward’s Queen of Garbage Loses Her Crown

The Queen Is Dead



It was only when they deposed The Queen did The People save money.

Broward County commissioners Tuesday for the first time in decades approved real competition for garbage disposal rates.

But before commissioners could make this taxpayer-friendly decision, they had to topple the county’s Queen of Garbage, fellow Commissioner Ilene Lieberman.

In the future, cities will have a choice between two companies – Wheelabrator Technologies and Sun/Bergeron – for garbage disposal. Or cities could pick any other company — Choice Environmental Services, Waste Systems of Florida and Republic Services have already shown interest in Broward’s waste.

It is expected to lower the cost for homeowners and businesses.

When competition was first suggested, The Queen was displeased. She wanted to continue Wheelabrator’s decades-long monopoly for another 20 years.

Lieberman got her nickname The Queen of Garbage because she reigned over the county’s garbage policy for years. The other eight commissioners deferred to her because, after all, studying and mastering waste disposal is a whole lot of boring garbage.

With the disposal contract expiring next year, Lieberman fought to extend the county’s marriage with Wheelabrator.

Commissioners balked.  They finally killed Lieberman’s idea, but it took foreeeever.

On Tuesday, commissioners finally buried the Wheelabrator monopoly starting when the contract expires next year. Commissioners expect disposal prices to drop 20-30 percent and much of this savings will be passed on to the public.

Broward Mayor John Rodstrom was in a fighting mood and wanted the public to know why it took commissioners so long.

Rodstrom told he wasn’t referring to Lieberman.  Since she was almost totally running the county’s garbage policy for years, you can be the judge.

Rodstrom couched his barbs by using the pronoun, “We.”

But it appeared to me — although he denied it — who he was talking about.

“We have not had leadership on this issue,” he huffed.

“We were not ever driving this train,” he puffed.

“We are (now) asserting ourselves as the leader of solid waste in this county,” he blew Lieberman’s house down. Or her castle.

The Queen is dead.  Long live the new Queen – competition.

19 Responses to “Broward’s Queen of Garbage Loses Her Crown”

  1. BettermentofBrowardCounty says:

    There will be savings for the taxpayers of Broward County.
    Unfortunately how much money will be left on the table, we will never know. In the hurried process to get an agreement in place, several companies that are willing and able to offer the same type of services were completely shut out of participating. Even though bought Wheelabrator and Sun-Bergeron said that they would support an RFP, the majority of the county commissioner in their “infinite” wisdom think this is the best deal they can get for the next 5 year and up to 20 years. Only an competitive RFP would be able to prove if the County is getting the best deal. My money is that they are making the same mistakes with other people’s money (the taxpayers). Today, is truly a sad day for the Taxpayers of Broward County. Today is the day that your elected officials decided that your money is not worth the extra effort in seeking the best deal. Today is the day that it was decided that a Cricket game is more important that were your garbage will be disposed for years to come.

    I am in favor of competitive bids, which is called RFPs in government-speak.
    The majority of the commissioners felt that there was not enough time before the end of the contract — summer, 2012 — to advertise, consider and vote on a competitive proposal…hmmmm.

  2. justajanitor says:

    The New Queen will be
    Ron Queenstein…
    ooooopppss I mean Greenstein!

  3. The Waste King says:

    Greenstein, the serf, can not become the queen. The most Ron Greenstein can become is The Jester. Oh, he is The Jester already.

  4. Citizen says:

    The 9 on the dais deliberately ran down the clock. they remind me of contractors who delay ordering the ‘long lead time’ critical items for a project, then at the 11th hour the owner (taxpayers) have to settle for inferior substitute. rodstrom’s comments about the “lack of leadership” on this (as the mtg wrapped) was also passing the buck because any of the ‘old timers’ that are now term limited could have stepped up, questioned, challenged the deal and direction lieberman was taking the trash deal. sadly we learned today if taxpayers did not already know, that the 20 year bond deal that we paid for to build the 2 facilities (I presume 441 at I-595 and sample at Powerline (??)) are now OWNED by Wheelabrator. They not only used our money/tax dollars in the millions and millions to design, then build and operat for almost 20 years, they made a profit running them as the tipping fee of $60.00+ per ton is now in low $40.00’s per ton). Forget those long gone from the dais that cut the sweetheart deal for Wheelabrator that no one in the interim ever said why can’t we own the facilities? So the dilemma as I see it is any other bidder has to landfill it, while wheelabrator can burn it, generate electricity/make revenue. Unless bergeron is building a facility, they are all slaves to landfills and imploring us to recycle enough to make some recover of the pick-up at curb worthwhile. BCC will cut Wheelabrator in as they do not want idle burn facilities, and worse, other counties garbage going to them so Wheelabrator can make money on the already paid for facilities (as bonds to build are now paid off).
    Do I have this wrong? Are my facts and statements incorrect? Please someone set me straight if so. Either way, we were had for 20 years and we likely will for another 20. Unless we all move OUT of S. FL.

    FROM BUDDY: Sun/Bergeron will dispose of waste using the spot market. The facility that is cheapest will get the waste. They listed more than a half dozen in their proposal that they are considering using. In addition, a new waste disposal plant will be opened in the next few years in Palm Beach County that is expected to offer good deals.
    Wheelabrator will use their own plants, which you rightfully noted were paid for by taxpayers. They are already up and running.
    Remember that the county contract is for about .5 percent of the county’s waste — just for the small unincorporated portions of the county. But the county hopes that cities sign on to their contract. However, there is nothing requiring cities to do so.

  5. Sue Gunzburger says:

    The current trash contract runs out summer of 2013, long enough to do an RFP which is what I proposed, and only had the support of Commissioners LaMarca and Ritter.

  6. Don't have a cowan says:

    This is not the only failure of the Queen. Her Court House project is a mess, she picked the wrong design team (think LA police station) and it is going to be years late and millions over budget.
    And what about the health risk, They should warn the jurors of the danger.

  7. Sam the Sham says:

    Tax payers paid for Wheelabrator’s facilities and now they are privately owned? How is this legal? Who got paid off for that sweetheart deal? Why aren’t people in jail? Why don’t we take possession of the facilities?

  8. Citizen says:

    Thank you Buddy for clarification. There were 5 city managers (or maybe more) in the room today. Since some have revenue/budget shortfalls, and a few have huge revenue shortfalls (Fort Lauderdale) they will be looking at what ‘spread’ they can get between what they are charged and what they charge property owners. That will be the tricky part. All Citizens tax payers better pay attention.

  9. YAFOS says:

    These commissioners can’t solicit RFPs and vote on one IN A YEAR????

    That’s either stupid, lazy, or it is deliberate. Either of these should tell all of us to vote out anyone that “suggests that there isn’t enough time”

  10. BOCC Observer says:

    Commissioner Gunzburger is right, only she and Commissioner LaMarca championed the RFP process, they never wavered from their positions; while Commissioner Ritter only voted aft she moved the other 2 and knew Gunzburgers motion would fail!

    All of the other Commissioners hid behind the so called time frame issue. Give me a break, they acted like cowards and certainly did not look out for the best interests of the residents of Broward County.

    Thank you LaMarca and Gunzburger!

  11. Wheelabrator Still Wins says:

    Another real story is how we as taxpayers agreed to pay the mortgage for the house they live in (the waste-to-energy plants), and when we were done paying for the mortgage (by payinf hundreds of millions in principal and interest), waste management gets to keep the house we paid for, and we can not use it without paying them. That’s the root cause of why we are in this mess of competing proposals, because we gave away our options.

    I find it unbelievable that no outrage has been put forward by the Commission, grand juries, prosecutors, or an effort to find out how that happened, what malfeasance occurred, and if there was any method to undo that idiotic agreement.

    Hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer assets simply given away.

  12. Cherry Blossom says:

    It should be noted that Chip’s speaking points were well prepared and his jacket/suit/tie combo was s sight a dandy like Roger Stone would appreciate. Lunch of pasta with steamed broccoli (2 sprtiz’s of lite olive oil) was prompty served with a glass of Pelligrino (1.5 degrees above room temperature, never iced). All business owner visitors were treated to chai tea and a fortune cookie (rumor not true our campaign treasurers address was on the paper in the cookie).

    All in a all, another great day in the District.

  13. Chaz Stevens says:


    Your flowery prose left me wondering…

    Are you suggesting Rodstrom is the new Queen?

    Is he taking up the… er… cudgel for Keechl?


  14. Sidelines says:

    thank you LaMarca and Gunzburger for the ceremonial No vote. And a thank you to Holeness for saying and posturing he would vote no then having to conveniently leave for a photo op for a coming-next-month West indies cricket match to the taxpayer funded central broward play fields. If he was that integral for the “Kick-off” wouldn’t they all wait for him to stay even if he arrives late?

    (All those well-to-do district 9 renters and owners (in foreclosure) can thank him personally for his keen representation looking out for their wallets). They all knew and started discussing this contract summer 2010. The usually foot dragging distracted efforts (some were mounting re-elections summer 2010)probably contributed to this cop-out yesterday. So now I wonder HOW can voters reward with a re-electionof lois wexler come Nov. and send jacobs to Wash DC? Can you imagine the disfiguration to Jacobs ears (and our even emptier pocketbooks) after the lobbyists there are finished with her? Lets get real taxpayers and voters. Anyone from citizenry who runs for BCC would NOT have voted with majority yesterday. It simply defies logic, and common and fiduciary sense. Forget the hype that our bills will be lower in the future. Thats all relative, given like the post above states, we already “paid off the mortgage”. is there a Recall provision in the Broward County Charter Buddy?

  15. BOCC Observer says:

    @ sideline. Can I remind you that LaMarca, Holness, and Sharief were not on thencommission until Nov of 2010, so you cannot blame them. And as I recall they all voted to reject the proposal made by Lieberman and the RRB.

    I don’t believe LaMarca’s vote was ceremonial, it has been his position from day 1 to send this out to bid.

  16. John Fusaro says:

    Each municipality is different from needs to revenue. The Municipalities just wanted the opportunity to lower there costs. Some Municipalities are environmentally conscious and are concerned about were and how the trash is disposed of and others couldn’t care less. The price to dispose of trash may be enticing but it’s the fine print that will get you.

  17. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Huh ,my turn. Ilene Lieberman is out for Ilene Lieberman. Its quite evident w/ the debackle and master scam artist- but who her ast(Bev Starcher). Stracher is just as bad.And now Comm.Lieberman is running for Judge. Who in their right mind would vote for her to preside on a Judical Bench? As far as her ast.Bev Stracher-a total mess. I mean to orchestrate this whole mess w/ Mayor Talabisco was just sickening-who paid the residents of Tamarac(for all Talabisco’s legal fees etc.-and who introduced Talabisco her campaign manager Bev Stracher) I will tell you this they are both slipperyer than a fish out of water. Take Stracher w/ you when your term is up Ilene. Speaking about the State Att. Sachs ladies you are just lucky he gave you both Immunity. Both repeat both of them Lieberman and Stracher should be in jail. Oh I know Comm.Lieberman is just sooo wonderful, I know cut all your hair off lady, bald if you want-all for locks of love(did you and Bev get a cut($$) of that to?. Oh I know and such a cat lover(10 is it?). Can smell the stench from here.

  18. Sidelines says:

    BoCC Observer-
    I know when they were elected. and since their taking seats on dais I know their comments on this contract. None pushed for this to be discussed, vetted or otherwise put on the table as a cost important to their constituents. had it not been for miramar taking the lead, thankfully, the contract w/Wheelabrator would have been a done deal. And only when then Comm. Rodstrom questioned the ‘early signing bonus/renewal’ terms and Wheelabrator demands, did this get some lip service. Like a comment posted above by W Still Wins “Hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer assets were simply given away”. Guess we are the only 2 in Broward who are unhappy we were robbed, stupid or both.

  19. Constituent says:

    highly unlikely she will be elected judge after this vote. I’ll bet on it.