City Councilman doubtful Red River will show at Tuesday’s meeting

Councilman Russ Jehl
Councilman Russ Jehl(Fort Wayne's NBC)
Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 11:07 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - City Council members are hoping to get answers on Fort Wayne’s trash troubles directly from Red River Waste Solutions CEO at Tuesday’s meeting.

The meeting agenda shows Red River CEO James Smith was called before council to address the problem after the company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in October.

The council requested leaders come to council last month, but they failed to show up. City Councilman Russ Jehl says he thinks that’s going to happen again.

“For four years they haven’t shown up to pick up your garbage and my garbage,” Jehl said. “They are uncooperative. They don’t respond to our requests.”

At last week’s meeting, council threatened to subpoena Smith if he doesn’t show up and give a response. Jehl says he believes they deserve answers.

“We’re not going to feel bad for these guys if they don’t even show up to council,” he said. “We will see if they even have the courage to show up after a subpoena.”

The councils next step, if Smith does not show, will be to formally vote on whether or not to follow through with the promised subpoena.

Fort Wayne’s NBC has made several requests to interview leaders with Red River, but the company has only provided a statement. Red River leaders say they are using the bankruptcy to take time and organize their debts and improve it’s ability to serve their customers.

“I want my constituents to know, I did make the mistake of approving the solid waste contract,” Jehl said. “For four years, I’ve done everything I can to make it right.”

Jehl says he’s also calling on the city administration to hire a new director for the Solid Waste Department, but a spokesperson has said they have no plans of that right now.

Spokesperson for the city John Perlich says they are going to be meeting with council members in the coming days to discuss the issue. He shared the followign statement.

Fort Wayne’s NBC will be at Tuesday nights meeting providing updates on the matter online and on social media.

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