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Advertise on the Tentacle

January 5, 2010

Day Off But No Recyclables

Roy Meachum

It may be fashionable to criticize new Mayor Randy McClement for giving Frederick city employees Christmas Eve off; I don’t buy that line. Drawing from my corporate experience, nothing gets done in offices that date. Take that back: emergencies are sometimes handled – and that’s it.


Far more serious than the debate on holiday furloughs: When will the recyclable blue bins be picked up?


Mine are overflowing. But reading the city’s website over the weekend, I received a suggestion only to separate newspapers from the trash: a ritual religiously performed everyday in the garden room – along with bottles and cans. But nothing gave a clue about how the nixed Thursday will be made up.


A call to the city’s public works office that handles the trash pickup was instantly answered, follow by a long wait on the phone and then a response that collecting recyclables was a county matter. I already knew that; I expected more. At least the young lady might have had the schedule when Winchester Hall scheduled the make-up; she did not.


Instead she referred me to a county number. Dialing brought a taped voice that blamed the weather for Thursday’s lack of service, citing side streets that might have been impassable. Hardly. But not working Allied Waste employees on New Year’s Eve made eminent sense. Still, I pushed the button for a recommended extension, a recorded voice asked me what was on my mind. Another tape generated hope that someone might call me back. My fruitless quest created the impression, however, that nothing would get done until offices opened first of this week.


Those several ventures into the world created by Don Ameche (as Alexander Graham Bell) netted me nothing. Zip. Nada. Meanwhile, that day’s batch of papers, bottles, etc. still molders away between flowers already starved for sun – as Pushkin and I yearn for a date when the blue bins get emptied.


Never mind, I’m sure Rick Weldon will handle it and quickly – maybe before this column appears. Frederick’s former chief of operations learned what departmental butts to kick during the years he spent assisting ex-Mayor Jim Grimes.


After spending time as both a county commissioner and a delegate, my friend and colleague told me Mayor McClement’s’ invitation placed him in his personal equivalent of “hog heaven.”


“This is really what I want to do,” he said the afternoon his new boss was sworn in. He sees his future as the administrator of a town or small city; that’s the career he says he wants. He ran Brunswick before jumping at the Grimes’ proposal.


When trying to live on a legislator’s pittance of a salary, he tested several opportunities; running Frederick’s United Way was the best, he said. Certainly, his stewardship made visible the community’s organization for raising funds for non-profits. I hadn’t noticed it before.


Political office and his previous stint in City Hall make him very much aware that what happens tomorrow depends very much on the constituency. Since the new mayor was elected by a coalition that was very non-partisan, there is the hope that Mr. McClement and Mr. Weldon serve more than four years.


Meanwhile, one or both of the gentlemen should figure out how those Frederick residents who choose to recycle – and many don’t – are better informed on the schedules. It’s no answer to stand on the steps of that magnificent Civil War-era courthouse and publicly wash their hands, saying it’s a county matter.


Besides, it’s too bloody cold.


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