Government waste on display in Peachtree City — See for yourself

Discarded city-owned office furniture. Photo/Josh Bloom.

I was on my way to the Peachtree City Dog Park (behind the BMX Track) when I passed the recreation building (now being remodeled for a senior center) with a dumpster in front of it. What was in the dumpster was surprising.

This dumpster was loaded FULL of office furniture, presumably from the recreation building. From the looks of all the pieces, there was absolutely nothing wrong with any of it.

I saw at least one desk swivel chair, a leather arm chair, multiple desks, shelving units, cabinets, office supplies, paper cutter, folding tables, and many other pieces. There was nothing wrong with any of these pieces except for the scuffs and some chips from tossing them into the dumpster.

This utter disregard of taxpayers’ money is exactly what is wrong with government in general. Disregarding the taxpayers’ assets is troublesome in itself, but whoever made the decision to handle these items in this way is showing they have no regard for the citizens and taxpayers of Peachtree City by doing this act so blatantly.

There was no hiding the fact they were throwing away perfectly good assets. I say, “Shame on you!”

There are several acceptable ways of disposing the city’s assets. The first being, not disposing of it at all, but to reuse or redistribute the assets to other buildings.

The second means of disposal is actually selling it. I know of many tools to do this and you don’t have to look very far on how to sell government assets. Fayette County Commissioners use www.govdeals.com to dispose of unneeded assets.

But if any of those are not feasible options, I am sure you could donate these items to a local charity for them to use or sell. These charities are always looking for assets like these to use or sell.

I am embarrassed for the city and feel like I need to do more than write a letter. I encourage everyone to get involved so we can all move the city forward. Quit focusing on the in-house fighting of our City Council. We need folks who truly care about our city, which includes the budget.

Josh Bloom

Peachtree City, Ga.

dar thompson
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It's so

interesting how everyone gets up in arms over issues like these. FOLKS...the Kedron Aquatic Center is costing us approx $700,000 a year. Allow me to offer the math....that comes out to $1917.80 per day in losses to the tax-payers of PTC...Every Day! For years in years we continually step over a dollar to pick up and nickel. We'll have a six month survey to consider as to what to do about gas golf carts when a 3rd grader could give you the exact answer that the council took six-months to deliever.

We lost hundreds-of-thousands of tax dollars on hwy 54 but look on the bright side, we are getting a gas station. All because of a red-light...are you kidding me...REALLY?

You talk about waste....the biggest waste we have is time. The time it takes to make a decision, time to run a survey, time to run a survey on the survey, etc. You were elected because the majority concluded you would make wise and good decisions. If your smart enough to know what needs to be done than just do it. If your not capable of making decisions that you shouldn't be making decisions to begin with.

If we as a city didn't waste so much time we would be light years ahead of ourselves.

Husband and Fat...
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Bravo

Bravo

intheknow
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Josh Bloom

Well, so you’ve been entrusted by the city to help guide the city’s future as a member of the “Needs Assessment Committee”. Someone whom acts with a letter to the local paper, with what appears to be false accusations made without the facts. Doesn’t your continued involvement in this committee, someone whom can’t gather all the facts to make appropriate judgments or decisions actually invalidate the outcome of any guidance this committee comes up with?
I would have thought your response posting would have been at least somewhat apologetic, rather than one of patting yourself on the back. Instead you seem to put your own spin on it, as being the savior to you’re perceived “government waste” claim on the city. I’m surprised, in a way of the limited comments made following Betsy’s and your responses. But then again, the typical “anti-government” posters on this forum probably felt dumb having joined in with their own comments to your letter.
Your beef should be with State and Federal Government waste, as at the local level here in PTC, I believe it’s minimal at best. With the tone of your response posting, I’d expect your resignation from the Needs Assessment Committee, as you’ve proven your bias and at the same time also insulted the many hard working employees of the city, whom have continually done more with less, and have been good stewards of the city’s finances – regardless of what some of the un-informed posters here think.

Josh Bloom
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Response to the city

First off, thanks for the response Betsy. One thing that I agree with in regards to "moelarrycurly" comment is that you certainly are the best. Everybody in Peachtree City owes you a debt of gratitude for the professionalism and knowledge that you have in regards to city business.

To respond back, and this is not to Betsy but to the official response back from the city.

I did not write the letter to show an example of incompetence. The purpose of the letter was to highlight an example of government waste. I wrote the letter to show how rampant it is through out ALL forms of government. I believe there was no policy broken and Betsy is a stickler for policy. I am sure the city followed there guidelines on how to dispose of assets.

Here is my point, and I am sure everybody can agree with this:

If the policy the city has in regards to disposing of assets leads to a dumpster full of perfectly usable furniture...THEN THE POLICY IS BROKEN! And that is the responsibility of all of us because we elect our leaders which in turn we expect them to lead.

1s0k
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Prime example

This is a prime example of the problem with the anti-government crowd on these boards. You guys continue to comment on things you know little to nothing about. All you see is waste when the truth was quite reasonable. Instead of an "oh, my mistake", you continue to act like PTC is the federal government and is throwing your money in the dumpster. You guys see only black and white when reality is infinite shades of grey.

The furniture was not 'perfectly usable'. Most of it was damaged by smoke, water and the gasoline used to start the fire.

Betsy Tyler
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Purported Government Waste – More Information

I have submitted the letter to the editor below for inclusion in a future edition of the Citizen, but felt it was also important to provide the information here. As always, please let me know if you have questions.
Betsy

Letter to the Editor: Purported Government Waste - More Information

The January 9, 2013, issue of The Citizen contained a letter to the editor from Mr. Josh Bloom, who was concerned about what he perceived to be government waste exemplified by a construction roll-off dumpster full of what he described as “office furniture, presumably from the recreation building, . . . (with) absolutely nothing wrong with any of it.”

Mr. Bloom suggested several options for getting rid of these items that were preferable to disposal, including redistribution to other City departments, sale of the items, or donation of the items to charities for sale or use. The City’s Purchasing Regulation allows for the first two options, but not the final one. While the City may donate items to other governmental agencies, neither State law nor City ordinances and policies allow donations to non-profit agencies or third parties without some type of compensation.

As Mr. Bloom noted, the City had a dumpster in place at the Recreation Administration Building on McIntosh Trail due to the renovation of the facility. The bid specifications for the project, which officially commenced on Monday, January 7, included the “proper removal and disposal of all debris and/or waste” in the building. However, the contractor did not place those items in the dumpster.

Prior to the beginning of the contractor’s work this week, several members of City staff spent the weekend at the facility. One employee was performing on-site shredding of documents that contained any personal information. Others were removing the remaining useful items to offsite storage locations. Simultaneously, several remaining pieces of furniture damaged in the June 2012 arson fire at Kedron Fieldhouse (by smoke, water, or accelerant, and replaced by the City’s property insurance policy) were brought to McIntosh Trail and placed in the dumpster.

Some of the items that were left in the building remained after a public sale the City held in March of 2012. The City periodically holds public sales for surplus items, which includes the use of www.govdeals.com whenever appropriate. The Purchasing Agent oversees this process. The steps she and other members of City staff take leading up to a sale, whether online or a live event, are:

1) Notify all departments of the impending sale and ask that any additional surplus items be sent to the holding area for inclusion;
2) Ask all departments to inspect the surplus items to see if they can be used in another area (and reallocated to that department);
3) Organize and catalog the remaining items for sale;
4) Advertise the sale event; and
5) Hold the sale event.

All of these steps were followed for the March surplus sale.

The City’s regulations allow the Purchasing Agent to determine the most advantageous disposition of excess, surplus, or obsolete materials. The policy further states that such items may be “refurbished or reconditioned, transferred, traded in on new equipment, sold by auction or sealed bid, or simply thrown out, if their value is so minimal that the cost of disposal exceeds any revenue that may be generated by other means.”

That last portion of the policy is what is most applicable in this case. For the March sale, the City spent approximately $3,000 in staff labor for the organization and cataloging the items, and in staffing the event itself. The merchandise that sold only brought in $1,200. The unwanted remains, along with the fire/smoke/accelerant-damaged furniture from Kedron, are what finally went into the dumpster.

Ultimately, City staff took all the steps available to dispose of the public’s property in a fiscally responsible manner. At some point, throwing items away becomes the last legal option in serving the public’s best interests.

If you have questions or concerns about something you see in your local government, you are always welcome to contact City staff for more information. Email me at info@peachtree-city.org, and if I cannot answer your question, I can put you in touch with the department or staff member who can.

Sincerely,
Betsy Tyler
Public Information Officer/City Clerk
City of Peachtree City

Husband and Fat...
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Accelerant

Would furniture with accelerant be considered hazardous waste? And if so, was it disposed of properly or was it commingled with the other "trash"?

Ialso, the disposal policy needs to be revisited since we try to be a green community

ptctrader2010
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WASTE WASTE WASTE...

The contents of this dumpster could have gone any number of ways: Public auction, Donation to CLOTHES LESS TRAVELED or Thrift Store, or even FREE CYCLE.

The "brain" responsible for this should be counseled. This just gives the city and administration / staff a black eye. I know we are smarter than this.

RKS
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Waste not, Want not!

I bet their were any number of thrift stores willing to take that stuff and plenty of places who would have picked it up. Blatant foolishness and a waste of crap to fill up a landfill..not frugal and not green...shame on your PTC people who did this!

ginga1414
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Josh Bloom, You're A Good Citizen

Thanks so much for caring about our community.

Thanks for caring about the folks who had to pay for all that furniture and equipment!!!!

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Earful

Not from me. Maybe from someone else.

Anyone wanting to ask questions can contact info@peachtree-city.org

Mike King
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Typical of you, Mayor...

...to dodge responsibility for what is described as blatant waste of local taxpayer money. You do realize that a RESPONSIBLE leader would have taken responsibility by the following:
-Acknowledge the fact that a problem may, or may not exist.
-Publicly thank Mr Bloom for his concern.
-Direct Dr Pennington to look into the issue and have the appropriate 'staffer' address it at the next Council Meeting.
-Follow up as necessary.
But, then I can think of some 12,000 reasons why you'd prefer to remain on the sidelines.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Yep, Typical

I read this, contacted City Hall and it is being looked into and a response will be made. That has nothing to do with providing citizens a means to ask their own questions.

I always appreciate the involvement of citizens if something may be wrong. Josh Bloom is a very productive and valued member of my Needs Assessment Committee.

Once again, you are wrong, for 12,000 and lot more reasons.

Mike King
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Mayor

"Once again, you are wrong, for 12,000 and lot more reasons."
Care to elaborate on just one of the 12,000?

Husband and Fat...
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So Mr. Mayor

What is your response?

NUK_1
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Good work, Josh, and thanks

I am at Goodwill several times a year donating things that my semi-hoarder wife accumulates and there's just NO reason at all for decent stuff to be dumped/trashed like that. People could have used this and now it's going to a landfill instead.

If it could have been sold, great, but, if not, just junking it is lazy and thoughtless. Thanks for pointing this out.

moelarrycurly
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Josh

Were there any barricades there saying keep out or something along those lines?

Josh Bloom
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Yes there were barricades

Yes there were barricades blocking the street on the East side of Shakerag Hill. I don't know why, but I suppose to keep vehicles from entering the parking lot from that entrance. There is some PTC Public Works construction going on too. None of the path ways were barricaded though.

It would be interesting if the dumpster is gone yet. Anyone been down by the dog park lately...or The Fred?

moelarrycurly
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Josh Bloom

You suppose a barricade blocking the street entrance was to keep vehicles from entering the parking lot? Is that like, I don't know, do you suppose the TSA is at Hartsfield to keep weapons off from airplanes?

How much security do we need to provide to this work site now as opposed to, oh, let's say last week before you wrote your letter and sent your photo?

No need to answer the above. However, I really, really hope you will take the time to respond to Betsy's information in the same fashion that you responded to what you assumed you saw without having any facts. Another letter would be appropriate. Sans photo.

Let me be the first, and from the looks of things, the only one on this thread to thank Betsy for the time she devoted to give us the facts. Thank you, Betsy. You are the best. So are your coworkers.

Josh Bloom
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Moelarrycurly

The irony (I found) in your example of the TSA is fabulous. This could be a whole new topic, but the TSA is another form of government waste. Sorry, but I found it amusing that I wrote a letter about government waste and you used an example to refute my argument by using another example of government waste.

Anyway, Do you think that throwing this furniture away is acceptable?

moelarrycurly
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Okay, I tried

to be nice. Tried. Josh, get your idled brain over to city hall (you know where that is, right?)? Talk with the purchasing agent for the city. Have her/him draw you little diagrams and photos and symbols that will help you comprehend the facts of what actually went on here. I must say, anyone who can't follow an explanation by Betsy Tyler must inhale jet fuel for kicks.

Read my lips, Einstein. Do I think throwing furniture away that was smoke, water and accelerant damaged should have been thrown away? Why, no, actually, I think the city should have delivered it to your front door and placed it in your great room or man cave or cubby closet office so that you could have enjoyed the true benefit of it. Or, if you have kids, put it in their bedrooms to play, study, sit on and generally get sick on.

When both of those are done, call your local city councilwoman and ask her what the rush has been all about to get this building in occupancy mode for multiple aging boomers in such a short amount of time. Ask her why the urgency. Then call our city staff expert on this project and ask him what is being accomplished and the time constraints he is under.

Then ask yourself, do I have what it takes to run for public office? I shudder to think what you come up with.

Man, all those highjackings and midair explosions that we have had to deal with since the TSA was started, those are frightening aren't they? Tell me, what has been your role in stopping that "example of governemnt waste" you mention above? Got another stack of classified photos and exposes ready to go the TMZ on that, too? Again, no need to answer, but I know you will. However, I have to go iron my cat now, so toodles.

Josh Bloom
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Yep, I am going to get an earful!

It certainly doesn't help that I am on the Needs Assessment committee sending a letter like this in to the editor, but I am also a citizen here. I was stunned when I passed by. As of Monday, the dumpster was still there, although the swivel chair and leather arm chair was missing. Surprise, Surprise!

Along with the furniture was multiple files tossed in for good measure. I kept those photos to myself.

Husband and Fat...
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Josh

In todays world, not destroying files properly could be life changing. Files with receipts could hold credit card or bank information. Medical information for someone could be stolen. The list goes on.

You need to advise if these types of files were included.

NUK_1
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Here's an earful for you

of thanks! If you hadn't pointed this out in a letter to the newspaper, it would likely be "standard procedure" going forward and I sort of doubt that will happen again since you took the the time to voice your opinion about this. Well done.

I've disagreed with you in the past here, but you obviously give a damn about PTC and I can respect that.

Larry Sussberg
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Josh - You Are A Good Citizen

And if you get an earful, well that's the difference between a politician/loser and a real leader who needs wants to hear, see and lead!

That will also tell you if you are serving on a real committee or a political sham!

Run for office

Larry Sussberg
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Josh Bloom & Peachtree City Waste

Josh,

You have just provided one more piece of evidence that we have an unfit mayor....providing little direction to a new city manager.

I hope you plan to run for office and I suggest you consider a bid for mayor!

If anything, this furniture could have been offered for sale to the public, even donated to a charity in need or given to Goodwill.

Agreed, stop the in-fighting we need a true leader.
What a mess!

Mike King
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Waste Indeed

In an environment of unlimited tax revenues does this really surprise anyone? Mr Bloom is rightfully embarrassed, and so should those responsible be embarrassed. Perhaps it's time to actually fire those responsible, or garnish wages as appropriate.

Realistically, however, they're merely following Mayor Stumpy's example.

Husband and Fat...
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Josh, your gonna get an earful at your next meeting.

However, you are absolutly correct. It's a complete shame that someone wasted the furniture and equipment that could have been utlized elsewhere within the city or donated to a local charity, youth organization, school, ect.. Heck, I would have taken some of it home with me and repurposed it if I couldnt use it for its intended purpose.

I would have also fired the city employee or contractor who filled that dumpster. Most dumpsters are priced based on the size regardless if its full or not. A knowledgable person, if told to remove, would have broken the large pieces into smaller ones to fit more into the dumpster.

Maybe our mayor needs to stay of the blogs and take a ride around once in a while to see the waste.

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