Pollard: Vaughan should vote on landfill decision

Greensboro interim City Attorney Tom Pollard reaffirms his opinion that Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Vaughan should vote in an upcoming decision to contract a private vendor to reopen the White Street Landfill in a letter (link) to a lawyer representing Gate City Waste Services.

Pollard explains his decision to the city council in an e-mail after the jump:

Dear Mayor and City Council Members:

Several questions were raised about my memorandum of August 22, 2011 to Ms. Vaughan about her participation in the vote to award a contract to Gate City following the public hearing scheduled for September 20. I have reviewed all of the additional information that I have received from council members as well as a letter that I received from Mr. Steven Levitas, the attorney for Gate City. After considering all of this information, I do not see any reason to change my opinion. Attached is a letter to Mr. Levitas that explains my reasoning. The letter only addresses the points made in Mr. Levitas’ letter. Additional concerns have been raised. First, the proposed push and pack operation may affect the methane gas production at the landfill, and Ms. Vaughan’s husband has represented Cone Mills in contract negotiations relating to the use of the methane gas. Second, Waste Industries’ proposal is technically alive and could be considered if the contract with Gate City is not approved.

As to the first concern, I have been advised that the RFP did not address the methane gas production, and the city will continue to maintain the methane gas operation. In addition, the landfill produces more methane gas than Cone Mills uses. There is no clear link between an award of a contract for the push and pack operation and a financial impact on Cone Mills or Ms. Vaughan’s husband.

While I believe that my letter to Mr. Levitas addresses the second concern, the possible future consideration of Waste Industries proposal is not enough to bar Ms. Vaughan from voting on September 20.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Thomas C. Pollard
Interim City Attorney
City of Greensboro

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