California Globe has learned that a government agency in California, created to promote and run a public-good program, is paying bloated salaries to its executive staff even as the program hurtles towards extinction.
There are likely many California government agencies paying bloated salaries; CalRecycle is just the most recent example. More than 50 percent of the recycling centers have shut down in recent years even though Californians are still shelling out $1.1 billion in annual beverage container recycling taxes. Tax rates run 5-cents for most glass and plastic bottles and aluminum cans under 24 ounces, 10-cents for 24 ounces and larger.
In theory, the consumer gets the recycle tax refunded when they return the container to a recycling center. First, though, you have to find one. Now, with more than 50 percent of the recycling centers around the state shuttered, finding an open one can be quite a trek. Then you usually have to stand in a lengthy line to complete the transaction.
All that just to recycle a bag of beverage containers and get back the taxes you paid up front.
California Globe recently reported:
Ironically, California’s largest recycling business shut down last week, laid off 750 employees, and closed all 284 of its centers. “RePlanet President David Lawrence said the company stopped operating because of increased business costs and falling prices of recycled aluminum and PET plastic,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “The move comes three years after RePlanet closed 191 of its recycling centers and laid off almost 300 employees.” PET (also abbreviated PETE) is short for polyethylene terephthalate, the chemical name for polyester.
“PET plastic” is a clear, strong, and lightweight plastic that is widely used for packaging foods and beverages, especially convenience-sized soft drinks, juices and water, the PET Resin Association explained. “Virtually all single-serving and 2-liter bottles of carbonated soft drinks and water sold in the U.S. are made from PET.”
Fewer recycling centers equals more inconvenience and less incentive to recycle, which results in even less revenue for running the program.
Additionally, what about people – including those in the homeless community – who depend on the money received from recycling to supplement their income?
Declining revenue issues have not led to any decline in the number of executive staff or their salaries. They continue to oversee – at great expense – a declining, dying program.
According to TransparentCalifornia.com, this is the list of 2018 salaries for CalRecycle executives:
- Scott Smithline, Director – $174,689 salary, $70,764.66 in benefits, totaling= $240,427.61
- Ken DaRosa, Chief Deputy Director – $172,861 salary, $68,378.42 in benefits= $235,006.83
- Elliot Block, Chief Counsel Legal Affairs – $151,082
- Bryan Ehlers, Asst. Director for Education & Environmental Affairs – $136,400
- Zoe Heller, Asst. Director for Policy Development – $116,313
- Mark Oldfield, Asst. Director for Public Affairs – $101,295
- Mindy McIntyre, Asst. Director for Legislative Affairs – $111,080
- Josephine Urban, Audits Manager – $114,611
- Mark de Bie – Deputy Director: Waste Permitting, Compliance & Mitigation – $182,287
- Sarah Keck – Deputy Director: Administration, Finance & Information Technology Services – $105,177
- Howard Levenson – Deputy Director: Materials Management & Local Assistance – $175,721
- Adam Tauber – Deputy Director: Beverage Container Recycling – $155,934
According to the CalRecycle website, CalRecycle has a budget of approximately $1.4 billion, including the $1.1 billion Beverage Container Recycling Fund. Other funding comes from recycling fees on new electronics, tires and used oil, and disposal fees charged by landfills.
Given the problems the state has exhibited running the CalRecycle program, along with the total meltdown of the DMV and the Motor Voter program, keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, and every state of California IT project, thinking that California’s politicians are still planning on a single-payer healthcare system leaves most voters cold.