Some 45,000 new garbage totes were delivered to the DPW yard on New Road earlier this month via a half dozen Ryder tractor trailers out of Philadelphia. The totes are being delivered to about 22,000 addresses in the city.
The delivery company left behind two trucks and about 15 workers to make house-to-house deliveries.
The employees, we are certain, are good men and women, although every one of them appears to have been born outside the USA based on their broken English.
The leader of the motley group, Besnik Shefa, of Philadelphia, is the CEO of a company called First on Time LLC that apparently has been subcontracted to do the delivery work.
If his employees look a little ragged - like carnival workers - or homeless people - it is perhaps because they are, at least temporarily.
According to eyewitnesses, some, if not all the workers, are sleeping in the trucks and their cars at night behind the DPW offices.
It begs a question: Was a food and hotel clause built into the delivery contract?
If it was, one can understand why a group of foreign born people, probably working hard for near minimum wages, might opt to sleep in their cars or trucks to pocket the hotel allowance.
The delivery contract called for Cascade Cart Solutions of Grand Rapids, Mich.,, to be paid $3.75 per tote delivered.
With 45,000 totes, Cascades will be paid $168,750 for the job.
If the subcontracted workers are paid $10 per hour (these foreign born workers aren’t union, plainly) First on Time and/or Cascade pays about $28,000 in wages. If they gave a hotel and meals allowance of $50 per day, that might total another $25,000.
Cascade and First On Time splits more than $100,000 on the delivery.
But that’s business.
Certainly, we sympathize with low wage, foreign workers trying to make money in this country, and everywhere innocent Muslims are being unfairly discriminated against.
And, after all, who hasn't roughed it one time or another and slept in their car? This isn’t a capital offense.
But, still, if it is true, should Mayor Dyster and DPW Director David Kinney encourage this "sleeping behind the DPW offices" situation?
Where do they shower? Where do they go to the bathroom?
While they are plainly using the DPW restrooms by day, the DPW closes by 5 p. m. Where do they "go" after hours?
There are trees and bushes in the DPW yard. And, there are the totes, which make handy receptacles. But should they use the smaller refuse tote or the larger recycling totes?
Meanwhile, totes are being delivered to many vacant and condemned homes. One can't blame the delivery guys. They have an outdated list to work from.
And City Administrator Donna Owens has been on the phone with the delivery people telling them to make corrections.
The problem is they were only paid to deliver each tote once.
In Niagara Falls, people are here one day, and move out the next, leaving an ever growing list of abandoned houses. It is not surprising that the list of deliveries is inaccurate.