The county’s waste agency is meeting this week for the first time since replacing its board with elected officials and members will begin discussing whether they need a technical adviser and a conduct code.
A technical advisory committee would include appointees from each member of the South Bayside Waste Management Authority. The committee would be charged with helping the newly remade board better understand the technical aspects of waste management.
The SBWMA board already has a financial conflict of interest code in place but, at Thursday’s monthly meeting, it will also talk about developing a code of conduct. A previous code adopted in 2006 was limited to the contractor selection process but the board may consider expanding it to other specific actions like operating the Shoreway facility.
Both ideas grew out of a blue ribbon task force convened earlier this year to evaluate the SBWMA’s governance and operations.
The SBWMA, also known as Rethink Waste, negotiates waste rates for its member agencies and oversees the Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos which provides recycling. Members are Atherton, Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo, San Mateo County and the West Bay Sanitary District.
When the task force recommended replacing appointed staff on the board with an elected official from each agency, eight of the 12 members had to agree. They did by July 24, effectively implementing the switch. Several of those agencies also voiced a desire for the code and technical advisory committee but determined the new board should decide for itself whether to implement the suggestions.
Interestingly, a few months after the task force made its recommendation to change the board makeup, the San Mateo Civil Grand Jury issued a report calling for the exact opposite. The jury called a change unnecessary because elected officials already have sufficient influence on major decisions like contracts and rate increases. However, the jury added that if the SBWMA members did opt for change, it should add the technical advisory committee.
Doing so would have no fiscal impact on the SBWMA but each member agency would feel it because of their staff’s time spent on committee business, according to a staff report from SBWMA attorney Robert Lanzone.
The South Bayside Waste Management Authority Board meets 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22 at the Shoreway Environmental Center, upstairs community room, 225 Shoreway Road, San Carlos.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102