Members of the Chapala City Council rejected a proposal by colleague Juan Carlos Pelayo to revoke the concession granted to Grupo Integral de Recolección y Reciclados de Occidente (GIRRSA), the private outfit contracted to take over the municipality’s solid waste collection service.
Signature to the 25-year contract was approved by the cabildo (council) on January 5 of this year. During the governing body’s April 30 session, Pelayo explained that he has had a change of heart since voting in favor of the deal because neither GIRRSA nor the government has complied with their respective commitments.
He stated that he agreed with the spirit of the outsourcing contract, intended to improve the efficiency of solid waste pickup while reducing government expenses for vehicle fuel, maintenance and repairs and worker salaries. But those objectives have not been met.
He argued that GIRRSA has not adhered to terms that included employing trash collectors and truck drivers on the Public Sanitation department payroll who agreed to give up their jobs with rights to severance pay.
According to Chapala personnel manager Sergio Díaz, so far only nine employees have been transferred to the company staff, while 49 others have been reassigned to other government jobs.
Pelayo also pointed out that GIRRSA has not carried out a promise to purchase the municipality’s used garbage trucks to complement its own fleet of brand new vehicles. Nor has trash collection improved notably in four months under the company’s management, including its failure to notify the public of changes in pickup schedules and routes.
In addition, Pelayo claimed that the government has not held up its part of the bargain with payment to the company calculated to run at approximately 756,000 pesos per month for services rendered.
During more than an hour of sometimes heated debate, several councilors laid partial blame for pickup deficiencies on citizens who put out their trash out after garbage collectors pass by. Others accused Pelayo of playing politics at the outset of the campaign period.
In the end they voted 10 to one against cancelling the contract.