search
top

Representative Randy Fine: Bully Or Extortionist?

Florida House of Representative for District 53 Randy Fine recently announced that he and Waste Management had come to an agreement that resulted in Fine pledging to pull his flawed HB971.

We had talked about the bill and how the implementation would cost the average person more in this post. The things that are wrong with the bill itself are too numerous to mention again here.

However, some of the highlights of the flaws are that the bill interferes as a governmental third party into the negotiations of a contract between another a governing city body and a company. The bill would also result in increased prices. Fine may say that wouldn’t happen, but unless he can come up with a way where a company facing more regulations, more costs, and a requirement of more services without all of that being passed onto the customer, we are going to stick with the economic certainty that when the government mandates companies do something that increases their costs, those costs are going to be passed onto the consumer.

Here is the text of Fine’s press release on the agreement between himself and Waste Management:

FINE AND WASTE MANAGEMENT INC. OF FLORIDA RELEASE STATEMENT ON BREVARD COUNTY SOLID WASTE SERVICE

(Tallahassee, FL) State Representative Randy Fine (R-South Brevard County) and Waste Management Inc. of Florida (“Waste Management”) authorize and release the following statement:

Hurricane Irma seriously impacted the residents of Florida, Brevard County, and the City of Palm Bay in a multitude of ways. One particular challenge in Palm Bay was garbage collection service 48 hours prior to the hurricane’s landfall. As a result of constituent feedback, Representative Fine filed House Bill 971 addressing interruption of services. HB 971 was workshopped by the Energy & Utilities Subcommittee and reported favorably by both the Energy & Utilities Subcommittee and the House Commerce Committee, and is scheduled be brought up for a vote on the House Floor today, March 2nd. Over those weeks, Representative Fine and Waste Management have been in frequent discussion, and have reached the following agreement:

1. Waste Management will publicize a local telephone number for Palm Bay residents to call in the event of any missed solid waste service. That local number is (321) 723-4455.

2. Waste Management will encourage the City of Palm Bay to hold a public workshop in the next 90 days to consider twice-a-week solid waste collection service.

3. Waste Management will continue to work diligently to provide timely and excellent service to all of its customers, both when faced with natural disaster, and during routine times. Waste Management, and its peers in the industry, learned valuable lessons from Irma. Those lessons will be addressed. In the event of a future natural disaster, like Irma, Waste Management will review its processes to ensure garbage is picked up from customers as long as it is safe to do so and the county owned landfill remains open to accept the waste, and will work with its customers, consistent with state law, to resume regular collection services after a storm while ensuring the safety of the company’s employees.

4. Representative Fine will withdraw HB 971 for the duration of the 2018 legislative session, and will monitor the implementation of the steps outlined above over the next year.

Representative Fine had the following statement: “I want to thank Waste Management for working with me to address the concerns of my constituents. The legislative process has worked – HB 971 was developed organically in response to requests from my constituents, and the attention it has garnered has created a cooperative partnership to get them resolved. I look forward to this shared commitment to ensure that all garbage is picked up in a safe and timely manner.”

ABOUT RANDY FINE: Randy Fine is the State Representative from District 53, which is comprised of the southern portion of Brevard County and includes the entirety of Palm Bay, Malabar, and Grant-Valkaria, and portions of Melbourne, West Melbourne, and unincorporated Brevard. Representative Fine is a third-generation Floridian, married to his wife Wendy, and together they have two boys, Jacob and David. A lifelong entrepreneur, Randy started his first business while in college and his second after graduating with distinction from Harvard Business School. Randy is the Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 391 and is an active Junior Achievement volunteer instructor.

ABOUT WASTE MANAGEMENT: Waste Management, based in Houston, Texas, is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. Through its subsidiaries, the company provides collection, transfer, recycling and resource recovery, and disposal services. It is also a leading developer, operator and owner of landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the United States. The company’s customers include residential, commercial, industrial and municipal customers throughout North America. To learn more about Waste Management visit www.wm.com or www.thinkgreen.com.

We want people to read the text of the release carefully, especially this part:

4. Representative Fine will withdraw HB 971 for the duration of the 2018 legislative session, and will monitor the implementation of the steps outlined above over the next year.

Think for a moment how that got in there. Fine would have had to tell Waste Management “either do items one, two and three, or else the Bill will go forward.” Waste Management’s income is locked up in contractual terms. It is clear that Fine has the leverage as Waste Management would be looking at huge cost increases without any increases of income (until the next contract, that is.)

Waste Management caved into Fine’s demands because at this point it doesn’t cost them anything and they can renegotiate a contract with Palm Bay if need be, something they couldn’t do if Fine’s bill went through.

The real issue to us is that in any other walk of life, a person saying “you do this or else I will hurt you,” is considered extortion at the worst, being a bully in the least.

Maybe both.

Furthermore, Fine’s bill would have not only increased costs to Waste Management customers, it would have put people at risk of bodily harm. Whenever there is a flooded street, police and emergency workers tell people to avoid the area because no one knows the depth of the water and know one can see the soundness of the street itself. Yet Fine wants Waste Management trucks to roll down those flooded street no matter what. It doesn’t matter if the driver is at risk or whether the wake from the truck itself causes more harm, Fine doesn’t care.

While some will say that Waste Management is a large company and they can afford whatever increases in costs there may be, that’s not the issue. The issue is that if Fine can introduce and support a bill that is economically grounded on quicksand to force companies to do what he wants, he can come after your place of work as well. If you are a small business owner, or work for a small to medium sized business, he can come after your company to force you to live up to new terms of a contract that he wasn’t even involved in its negotiations or services.

That may be our biggest objection to the whole proposed bill and self promotion. The bill doesn’t do anything to make life better for anyone. All it does is add another layer of regulation and costs on businesses, and as we have repeatedly said, those costs will be passed onto the consumer.

It is odd that while Republicans have sought to decrease outdated and worthless regulations, Fine chose the opposite route – more regulations.

Maybe that says more about Fine and his commitment to conservative values than anything.

We aren’t sure that we are thrilled with the idea of a non-conservative, bully and extortionist representing District 53, but that is our impression of Fine, and our opinion of his actions and beliefs.



Comments are closed.

top