Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mo Court of Appeals ponders fate of Charlie Dooley’s trash program

Kevin Killeen, KMOX

A trash pickup program set up by St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley in 2008 is under review by the Missouri Court of Appeals.

The class action lawsuit could affect some 100,000 county residents. Trash haulers could — potentially — be ordered to refund to customers monthly trash fees going back to the plan’s inception, if the appeals court orders a trial, and if the county were to lose the trial.

In arguments heard today, lawyers fought over whether the case should go to trial, or remain dead after a St. Louis County Court dismissed the case.

An attorney for trash customers, Rob Schultz, argued that the county violated its charter when it set up new trash districts without a vote of the people.

“The county charter says you have to have an election before you set up a trash district,” Schultz said.

The county’s top lawyer — County Counselor Patricia Reddington — argued that the appeals court had already established in an earlier case that the county has charter authority to set up trash programs.

“We’ve always said it’s lawful under the charter, and this court has already decided that when the haulers challenged the action,” Reddington said, “This court said that we had the authority to do it under one of the provisions in the charter. That was our argument in this case also, so we’ll see what this court says.”

Schultz says the appeals court “overlooked” a subsection of the charter requiring an election to set up trash districts, when it ruled in favor of the county in the earlier case.

This case is one of four lawsuits challenging the trash districts set up by the administration of County Executive Charlie Dooley. One case filed on behalf of three trash hauling companies who were excluded from the new program alleges that the county failed to give a two-year notice of termination of their contract required by law.

Another suit alleges the trash program is a violation of the state’s Hancock amendment . The remaining suit seeks a vote of the people. No final decisions have been rendered in any of the four cases.

In today’s action, the three-judge panel is expected to take months to make a decision.


  1. Anonymous11:59 AM

    I bet that Charlie Dooley, never even heard the word trash.

    He has sure created a big issue with this one.

    He was told by lots of people to leave trash alone, but, he couldn't resist.

    Now it may get him tossed out of office.

  2. Anonymous10:30 AM

    Communist programs should get any politician voted out of office. Hopefully people wake up and vote them out.