Landfill Audit Recommends Eliminating Three Positions

Reductions Could Save $70,000, Report Says

June 16, 1991|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff writer

While an internal county audit recommends eliminating three jobs at Carroll's two landfills as a way to save $70,000, staffing levels here are no higher than in two comparable counties.

Carroll's Hoods Mill and Northern landfills employ 18 people and handle slightly over 400 tons of waste a day, about the same amount as in Washington County and about 200 tons less than in Frederick County.

Both Washington and Frederick counties employ about 20 workers attheir landfills, records show.

But Carroll's chief auditor said in a July 1990 report released a week ago that the county could save nearly $70,000 if three jobs were cut from the landfills.

"We recommend through attrition or transfer of personnel, the staff of the landfills be reduced by three individuals," Timothy D. Hartman, chief ofthe Bureau of Auditing, wrote in the report.

The report was presented to the County Commissioners, who gave no indication as to whether they would seek the job cuts.

Every agency in county government is supposed to be audited once every three years, but most are audited only once every four or five years, Hartman said.

The audits arerequired by state law.

The landfill audit was released just as the county is scraping for any cash it can get. The budget for the yearbeginning July 1 is already 2 percent lower than the current year's spending plan.

It also comes as the future of the county's $1.4 million solid waste operations is at stake.

The commissioners this summer are expected to study solid waste operations and decide how thecounty should pay for those operations.

The three positions Hartman and his staff of three recommend cutting are those of assistant supervisor and equipment operator at Northern Landfill in Reese and laborer at Hoods Mill in Woodbine.

According to the 14-page staffing supplement to the audit -- of which only 8 1/2 pages were released tothe public -- the current staffing level results in the equivalent of 60 days a year of wasted time.

"There is a considerable amount of unexplained time," Hartman wrote.

In Washington County, 21 people will operate two landfills and three waste transfer stations --processing about 450 tons of trash a day -- under a budget of about $1.4 million for fiscal year 1992. In Frederick County, 20 people will work one landfill -- processing 600 tons daily -- for close to $2 million.

Carroll's landfills are expected to process about 435 tons of waste a day during fiscal 1992.

Carroll's solid waste chief viewed parts of the audit with skepticism, however. Jack Curran said that since the auditing period -- last April through June -- many steps havebeen taken to increase efficiency. He also said that added responsibilities in the area of recycling have been placed on his staff.

Other recommendations in the audit include considering the closing of Hoods Mill, an option that auditors estimate could save close to $3 million in capital expenditures and nearly $225,000 a year in operatingcosts.

Also recommended is a reduction in the number of employeeswho report to work at the county maintenance center in Westminster in order to be transported to Hoods Mill in South Carroll. The auditorsaid the elimination of the practice could save the equivalent of 62days' worth of lost time.

The commissioners must decide what actions, if any, to take as a result of the audit.

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