Waste Disposal District hires new executive director
MARION — The Carver Marion Wareham Waste Disposal District Committee has a new director after embezzlement allegations forced the ouster of the district’s previous administrator.
Jeffrey Osuch, who previously served as executive secretary in Fairhaven for 28 years, was tapped on Dec. 27.
Founded in 1973, the district was formed as a regional approach to handle waste from the three towns. It allows those towns to jointly contract with waste-to-energy facility SEMASS in Rochester, and it operates transfer stations in each town. The district is funded by fees charged to users of district facilities, assessments from the member towns and agreements with third parties.
The district’s day-to-day operations are overseen by an executive director. Pickles served in that position from 1973 until Jan. 29, 2018 when he was discharged by members of the Carver, Marion and Wareham Regional Refuse District Committee, which has ultimate authority over the district.
Osuch has an additional 10 years of experience as superintendent of the Board of Public Works. He said that he was glad to be in the position for the district.
“I would like to learn as much as I can in the next weeks and understand the concerns of these diverse communities,” Osuch said.
Osuch will meet with town administrators and committee members as soon as possible to learn about the waste disposal district and what they do for it.
This knowledge of how the system works will be an important step in developing a strategic plan for the next few years as Wareham approaches waste contract renegotiations in 2020.
“By the end of 2019, I would like to have a conceptual idea of where we are going, especially if towns decide that they want to go their own ways,” Osuch said.
Osuch’s appointment comes after the previous director, Ray Pickles, was fired in January 2018 following the discovery of financial irregularities.
The district subsequently filed a civil suit against Pickles (who continues to serve as town clerk in Marion), his wife Diane Bondi-Pickles and retired Carver Health Agent Robert Tinkham Jr., charging that the three embezzled $838,457.
That suit has not yet been resolved.
Osuch was the second choice for the waste disposal district, which had initially selected Michele Bernier as executive director but could not complete contract negotiations with her.
The district also ordered a stringent financial audit in June that examines every transaction that the entity has made since 2012 as part of an effort to better understand its financial workings.
Members of the disposal district committee voiced concerns that they wish to tackle now that Osuch can help them to coordinate their efforts.
Currently each town issues transfer station stickers to vehicles that register and pay a fee. Though the fee currently is different for each town, committee members discussed making the fee and oversight of transfer stations uniform. The group also decided to consider waiving the fee for disabled veterans at a later point.
There is no weekly limit to how much people can drop at transfer stations, something that committee members would like to discuss in the future.
A larger organizational change would be for the disposal district to transition to taking on some of the disposal costs over the next two years.
The committee also discussed how to make its regulations more clear to users, to prevent both inadvertent and intentional abuses of the system.
One committee member suggested that a heavier social media presence could help people understand how to use the system, while another suggested signs at transfer stations that would serve much the same purpose.