HATTIESBURG, MS. - City of Hattiesburg officials are looking into alleged violations of the Public Service Works (PSW) department's recycling protocol after a city employee was caught improperly disposing recycles last week.
Director of Public Service Works Larry Barnes said a concerned citizen captured one of his employees dumping recyclables at the Pine Belt Solid Waste Site on James Street.
“When I was notified I pursued it and got to the bottom of it and found out what exactly was going on and we corrected the behavior since then" said Barnes.
Barnes said this is an isolated incident. "I am deeply troubled by this incident and want to assure the public that this matter has been investigated and dealt with accordingly."
"No driver or manager of our Public Works Recycling Division has ever been given permission take any recycling materials to any facility other than FV Recycling" he said.
He said disciplinary actions will be taken into this personnel matter, but he could not comment at this time.
The city started its curbside recycling program in 2015, according to Barnes all recyclables are supposed to be dropped off at the FV Recycling Facility located in Sumrall.
Barnes said, “I am saddened whats happened but since then we had bounce back, come back, and fixed those problems.”
PSW are putting a few things in place to improve future operations.
"I think the main thing about it, educating them about the importance of recycling, the passion that we have for recycling" said Barnes. He added, "And making sure that we make the right decisions about recycling for the generations of the future of our kids and grand kids."
Prior to the incident the city bought 72 tracking devices to use on its city trucks and cars. Barnes said the devices have been installed this week and are being used by drivers.
“We have these fleet tracking device on the trucks, so we can know where they are going, what time they are doing it, and things of that nature" said Barnes.
"And this should help us be more effective and efficient as it pertains to not only just where the recycle trucks go and doing things on a timely manner" he added.
The city said it is working to add a new recycle drop off site closer than Sumrall.
FOX 23 requested weight receipts that are given each time recycles are dropped off at the FV Recycling Center in Sumrall.
We will keep you posted as this story develops.