I have lived in the city of Memphis my entire life and I have always felt very fortunate as far as the services provided by the city. As a practical person I know that there are problems with government run amenities. There is often a breakdown in communication between administrators and the public they serve as well as between administrators and the field employees. Waste management is a thing that can easily be taken for granted, but is essential to any civilization. Memphis city waste management, for me, has been quite decent. Shortly after I moved into my home the latch on my big, green dumpster, that is also provided by the city, broke. I went to the cities website, Solid Waste Management at http://www.memphistn.gov/Government/PublicWorks/SolidWasteManagement.aspx . The website is very comprehensive. Everything I needed was right there. I called because I wanted to speak to a person and receive some type of confirmation that my request had been received by an actual human being, but if I’d wanted to, the forms for my request could have been addressed on line.
If I have one issue with the way this section of public services is run it would have to be the handling of my trash can. I never know where it’s going to end up after it’s been emptied. It’s happened so often that, on Thursdays I only hope it isn’t in the middle of my drive way and is somewhere in the vicinity of the front of my house. My son complains because he’s responsible for the trash. He feels it is an intentional act of a disgruntle employee because, “No one wants to be a garbage man.” Of course that is the voice of youth. Adults understand the importance of a position with the city, benefits, and job security. At this point we are living with the random placement of our garbage can. I’m sure there is recourse, but I don’t believe it’s worth it. I cannot see the wisdom in ticking off the men responsible for taking away my solid waste. In class we learned it is called Administrative Discretion. Which is when a public administrator, such as a trash collector can make a decision as to whether or not he/she can or will complete the task. I call it retaliation and I do not want to cultivate a power struggle.
I don’t know what the training procedure is for a Solid Waste Management employees or if there is one. I also don’t know the qualifications and requirements are for the job. When I went to the website there was only detailed information about police officers and fire fighters. This brings to mind the question, are these jobs held in higher regard than waste disposal. A person, if they are blessed, has few needs for the police, and perhaps never for the fire department, but I look forward to trash pickup every week. I said that to say, that I need my garbage removed as much as any other service. Yet there is little information about the requirements and training of those involved in the process.