BELLAIRE Management and employees from Electronics Recycling Service in Bellaire gathered en masse Thursday to express their concerns to village council.
In particular, those representing ERS in attendance are none too thrilled with the treatment their company has been receiving from certain members of council and their associates.
First to speak was Dan Brown, the Senior Director of Operations at ERS.
"I'm here to express my disdain of the treatment that certain members of this council and people associated with council, their family members and close friends give ERS," Brown began. "There is a member of this council that is going out of their way to interfere with our company."
Brown stated that most recently, ERS received a letter that was geared toward insulting ERS and the growth of its business in town.
"It was said to me during an executive session 'We run this village, not you,''' Brown said. "You are my representatives, both personally and business-wise. I expect this body to give ERS the same consideration and respect granted to any other entity in the village."
According to Brown, ERS has received some form of daily harassment, negativity and insults from certain community leaders, none of whom Brown mentioned by name.
He didn't have to. Brown's disagreements with Councilwoman Lou Ann Bennett and her close friend and fellow Bellaire Chamber of Commerce board member Nancy Raeder are well known throughout the town.
The unofficial Bellaire Facebook page, of which Brown is one of a few moderators running the page, details this back and forth daily.
It was Raeder, during the Sept. 6 village council meeting, who first publicly complained about the appearance of ERS' facilities.
Jim Johnston, the general manager at ERS, was on hand at that meeting to answer any questions and explain about the overflow problem of electronic waste waiting to be recycled.
"We are built to handle between 80,000-100,000 pounds of electronic waste per week," Johnston said. "Currently, we're receiving in excess. We didn't anticipate being this successful as fast as we have been. We anticipated slow growth."
ERS purchased a nearby lot close to its facility, graveled the lot and plan to install a fence around the property to block any waste that is waiting to be recycled. Johnston also told that a night crew had been added in order to catch up on the workload.
"You're asking everyone in this village to deal with an open dump. We've been dealing with it for months now," Raeder said. "The south end of town is being turned into a brand new dump."
Village solicitor Ed Sustercic was quick to correct what was and wasn't a dump at the time.
"It's not a dump. It's part of their inventory," Sustercic said at the time. "Council will not entertain to monitor a business. We are not telling them one iota about how to run their business as long as they are doing it legally."
During Brown and other ERS employees' expressing their opinions during Thursday's meeting, Raeder and Bennett both hit on the dump talk.
"Except First Ward School is being used as a dump from all across the country," Bennett quipped after Councilwoman Patricia Thomas listed some of the current council's accomplishments in helping to clean up the city. Thomas took exception to comments from another ERS employee about council dropping the ball in certain areas and how the town has deteriorated under their watch.
Bennett also responded to Brown directly,
"He's the one with a personal vendetta," Bennett said of Brown. "I will not waste my time on that but he is the one running his mouth about everybody, not that other way around."
Other ERS employees went on to explain that the company is a green company. It provides more than 40 jobs currently with the promise of more to come shortly as business expands.
Hughes may be reached at email@example.com