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225 27 My World without Sunset Scavenger One of the most difficult things for me was to explain to my political contacts, business connections, and personal friends why I was not president any longer. It was also hard to tell my daughter Gina. My wife, Virginia, stood by me during these difficult three weeks. After I started my first day unemployed, Virginia said, “Wear a suit and tie every day. As you contact people to explain what happened, express confidence and optimism wherever you go.” That optimism was somewhat difficult, especially because of the rumors my former colleagues were spreading around the indus­ try with the ongoing investigation. During this time, I received a call from my longtime friend and colleague, Richard Granzella, president of Richmond Sanitary Services in Richmond, California. He said that his cousin and my friend, Benny Anselmo, had told him that I had been terminated and was looking for employment. I had known Richie since I was six years old. He was one of the people I had traveled the world with, seeking the black box to solve the world’s solid-waste disposal problems. He knew and respected my capabilities. Richie said that he, Concord Disposal, and Pleasant Hills Bay­ shore Disposal had formed a joint venture of sorts and were in the preliminary stage of developing a regional sanitary landfill in Contra Costa County. They needed someone to coordinate the development of the project, and he felt that I had the proper credentials and reputation. I told him that my former company was in the process of conducting an investigation of my affairs for the past five years, and that I didn’t want that fact to come out after I began work with the joint venture. His response was: “I don’t care. We want you to come to work for us.” I agreed to go to work for the consortium after meeting with the other two partners, Silvio Garaventa Sr. and Boyd Only Jr. They offered me a starting salary of $50,000, plus benefits, an expense account, and a company vehicle, which I accepted—just four weeks after my termination. I worked out of Pleasant Hills Disposal’s small office off of 226 My World without Sunset Scavenger Highway 4 and shared a small office and desk with Boyd Only’s pet cat, who had free roam of the office and was always sleeping on my chair or desk when I arrived. Plus, the cat’s litterbox was nearby. This was surely a great step-down from my large Sunset office and the conveniences and authority I had become accustomed to. But it was a job, an ego saver. I did not have to request unemployment benefits, but instead had a place to work just four weeks after Leo Conte appeared before the grievance committee and stabbed me in the back. During my tenure with this group, I participated in the design and development of Concord Disposal’s pending Lovelace solidwaste transfer station and materials recovery facility. Prior to my termination from Sunset Scavenger, the City of San Jose had issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a competitive bid for waste-collection services, under an exclusive-termsand -conditions contract concept, a contract that was currently held by Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI). During my time with the consortium, the landfill project was in a sort of limbo, and the San Jose City Council awarded the contract to Waste Manage­ ment Inc. (WMI). Out of the blue, Louis Garcia, the city manager of San Jose, contacted me. He wanted me to assist him and the city with the transfer of services between the two publicly held companies . His rationale was simple: “I need you and your talents to make sure the transition of services is accomplished without controversy or interruption and with the ultimate goal of making the city council not look bad—make them look like heroes.” Louis Garcia went on to offer me a $10,000 per month consulting fee for a guaranteed six-month period, and I readily agreed. That was double what I had been compensated as presi­ dent at Sunset Scavenger Company. I was able to convince BFI’s senior management that it would benefit BFI’s long-term public image and interest to make sure that the transition of service went as smoothly as possible. I reminded them that they were still doing business with the City of San Jose, and that it was in their...


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MARC Record
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