The county court has come up with a way to improve service to local residents and save money doing it - hire a new landfill manager.
>The goal is to save the county money and improve on customer service by replacing the expensive consultant with a full-time manager
For the last few years, the county landfill has been managed by Bruce Ricks. An expert in landfill operations and very knowledgeable about rules and regulations pertaining to landfill facilities, Ricks has kept the local operation out of trouble with the state Department of Environmental Quality. With his expertise, the expansion project now underway and extensions of the overall permits have been his successes.
Recently, however, the court decided to take a different tack; they would hire a full-time manager and retain Ricks on a part-time basis strictly as a consultant. This action, County Judge Scott Cooper explained, would mean a great savings and improvement in service.
"The county has been paying Ricks something like $99,840 per year, plus mileage, his cell phone and other benefits," Cooper said. "The full time manager will make between $42,000 and $43,000 as a county employee. That's a substantial savings."
The focus of the change will be customer service, Cooper continued. "That's our prime goal. The application period closes Friday and we expect to interview and hire on Wednesday."
Ricks will continue working on the expansion project and soliciting new business from Deschutes County. At the present time the Crook County landfill takes waste from Jefferson, as well as septic waste from all three counties. Taking waste from Deschutes County will help in a number of ways.
For some time, the Deschutes County Commissioners were talking about closing the Knott Landfill and pushing for a regional facility to serve all three counties. Now, Cooper said, the decision has been made that the Knott landfill has 10 to 15 more years of life "and there is no more talk about a regional landfill. If we get some of their waste, it will mean more income for us and we can maintain our landfill's lower rates."
Additionally, he explained, if sometime in the future the regional landfill proposal comes up, Crook County will be in a good place to fill that need.