Mayor Caldwell swaps job, gets his hands dirty

Assesses problems with bulky item pickup program

Published  6:54 PM HST Jul 12, 2013
HONOLULU -

If you had your bulky trash items out on the curb in Manoa Friday morning, chances are it was picked up by Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

The mayor and Environmental Services Director Lori Kahikina are trying to find the problems that are causing island-wide bulky trash pickup delays.

The mayor says he does not want to cut the free service, instead he wants to make it better. Some islands currently do not have any bulky item service, others charge a fee. Caldwell says part of the problem lies in staffing.

"The low man on the totem pole it's his job, it's not the most easy job. You have to sweat, lift up heavy things, they're stinky, dirty, messy, you have to throw them in the back of a truck," says Caldwell. "If we can find a way to keep people, if we can find a way to recruit people quicker, I think we are going to be able to solve the problem."

Caldwell says there's a high turnover of refuse collectors. At least 23 more employees are needed at the Honolulu yard alone.

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