More Monkey Business at the Central Landfill

Like escaping gas, the heap at the Central Landfill in Johnston keeps burping up more evidence of the bloated corruption and mismanagement of the site that is going to cost Rhode Island taxpayers almost $120 million. The latest example - just come to light - is the fact that when the landfill expands in another three years and opens up for use the last remaining section of the site, it’s going to force the destruction of the buildings that the landfill agency, the RI Resource Recovery Corporation, currently uses.

That’s right. The land the previous RIRRC administration selected to site its headquarters building along with its power plant, maintenance building and a warehouse transfer center – a total of five buildings – will have to be demolished to clear the space for fill use. These buildings, most built during the 1990s and one even after that, cost $42 million to construct. What they will cost to build in 2013 will probably cost even more.

Why these buildings were located over land the agency knew through its longstanding master plan would one day be needed – part of what was designated as the final available acreage RIRRC had at its disposal - is the $42 million dollar question. You’ve got to wonder why someone at the agency didn’t point that out before they built the first building or certainly when they came to add four more.

But it’s not surprising really, considering the way the operation was run before Michael O’Connell, an out-of-state retired business executive hired by Governor Don Carcieri, became its executive director in 2007. O’Connell is the guy who blew the whistle on his counterparts and the board members who had been running the landfill as their own smelly, private fiefdom.

The taxpayer tab for their misdeeds, which ranged from misappropriation of funds to a fishy land deal with the family of the mayor of Johnston at the time, will end up costing the state – that means you and me – some $75 million. Virtually all of that money has been declared beyond recovery, and the individuals involved free from prosecution, amazingly enough, because of the statute of limitations. Why this bitter, unsatisfactory outcome has been passively accepted needs to be reexamined by the next attorney general.

The final section of land – some 102 acres – will provide another 22 years of operational life to the landfill, which currently takes in some 750,000 tons of trash each year. When that section reaches its fill capacity, the state will face a stark choice: either pay to ship our trash out of state or build and operate an incinerator. The incinerator option, posed a decade ago for Quonset, was shot down by local opposition, so an incinerator will face a tough NIMBY haul for acceptance. But other states and other countries incinerate their trash already, and in 20 years’ time the technology should be able to provide an even cleaner solution.


  1. You are a true patriot Johnny. Thank you for stating the problem and laying the foundation for remedy. RI is anti-business because the citizens of RI are anti-business. They, like most of Western Europe, want 10 weeks vacation and the retirement age to be 50. And they get there by becoming public sector employees. They realize they have access to the public treasury through their elected officials and send them back every chance they get. What we end up with is the RI General Assembly in its current form: beholden to the unions and the trial lawyers. When I continue to hear Democrats running on the theme of "JOBS" I want to puke blood. That's like the Grand Wizard of the KKK running on a record of racial harmony. The time is now to oust all these country-wrecking, self-serving bottom feeders. It won't be easy though, as we speak they're bussing in masses of non-taxpaying government leeches to keep their representatives in power. Hopefully we have enough taxpayers that are willing to go to the polls to stop them. Up til now we haven't.

  2. john, I am surprised at your ignorance on this. You should stop regurgitating what you read in the PRO JO. It's embarrassing for you. Really. You and Liz know, on a very personal level, several of the people being attacked, maligned and severely hurt by the vindictive crusade being waged by Carcieri and his stooge O'Connell in their corrupt effort to control the landfill and replace the Board with Carcieri patsies. If you looked at this closely you would think twice about your comments above. You would find that the real story here is the connection between Carcieri, Kerry King, Attorney Tom Holt of KL Gates, the Deloitte auditors, the $1.4 Million KL Gates earned on the contrived E&O Settlement, and Joe Rodio the paid by the hour lawyer who has helped unionize the landfill and put labor in control of the Board. If you want to talk about taxpayer waste, research what the landfill contributed to the General Fund prior to OConnell versus what the landfill does for the State now. OConnell can only use the story of past corruption for so long to hide his own ineptitude and failures. With the new administration his days are numbered anyway. Again though, John...look at the friends you have who are caught in the cross hairs of Carcieri's crusade, and pause before you cut and paste the Pro Jo garbage into your website. It really is embarassing for you.


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